ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0043.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Anesthesiology Keywords: anaesthesia; workforce challenges; qualitative research; Pakistan
Online: 5 September 2022 (04:30:46 CEST)
Global anaesthesia workforce limitations contribute to emigration of skilled anaesthesiologists from lower- to higher-income countries, jeopardizing workforce balance and patient outcomes in Pakistan. This study aims to explore challenges experienced by anaesthesiologists in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, and necessary changes to encourage their retention. We conducted a qualitative study to examine perspectives of anaesthesiologists who chose to serve in Pakistan. We drew data from semi-structured interviews conducted with 25 purposively-sampled consultant anaesthesiologists. We analysed data thematically and distinguished the practice hurdles faced by anaesthesiologists in public and private hospitals of Punjab. The main reasons to work abroad could be broadly categorized under two inductive themes, i.e. practice hurdles in public and private sector. Both had distinct issues which compromised the number and quality of anaesthesia workforce in the country. The key outcomes were workplace security, promotion/incentive issues and gender inequalities in the government sector. The private sector had improper salaries and facilities, anaesthesiologist’s dependency on surgeons for getting work and lack of out-of-theatre practice which minimise the scope and earnings of anaesthesiologist within the country. There is a need to overcome surgeon dependency and hospital manipulation by fixing salary percentages for each surgical case and encouraging direct patient-anaesthesiologist relationships.