For almost two years the Sheriff’s Department Medical Services Bureau has operated short-handedly, with approximately twenty funded positions sitting vacant at this time. The Sheriff’s Department so far has been unable to recruit new doctors to the Bureau, especially the much-needed primary care physicians.
The doctor shortage is affecting the morale and health of much of the current staff, all of whom work long hours to ensure that the clients receive the proper care. When any doctor leaves for vacation, CME, illness or emergency, it puts a tremendous burden on the other doctors who have to volunteer to cover the open post assignments or get drafted to do the work.
The situation at the Sheriff’s Department is not being experienced in other County medical centers or clinics, at least not at the crisis level that has been reached at the Sheriff’s Department. The Union is in talks with the County to address this situation, because fixing the problem will require a real change in the County’s approach to the recruitment and retention of doctors.