Meet the Prime Minister who treats patients on Saturdays | hangs white coat where one finds towels on chairs in India

The Hush Post | 14:38 | Two-minute read

Serving a nation and treating patients are two different job profiles. In Bhutan, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering does both jobs with a single aim. The aim is healthy citizens and healthy country.

Every Saturdays Bhutan’s PM Tshering treats his patients at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Refferal Hospital. The Himalayan country which is famous for measuring citizens’ Gross National Happiness, its doctor PM says, “Some people play golf, some do archery and I like to operate. For me it’s a de-stresser.”

Tshering began his political career in 2013 but his party had failed to make headway in the elections that year. After losing, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck commanded him to lead a team of doctors and travel with the monarch’s entourage to far-flung villages to provide free medical treatment.

Now as a prime minister, Tshering spends his Saturdays treating patients referred to him. On Thursdays, he offers medical advice to trainees and doctors and as any common man he enjoys family time on Sundays.

In the Prime Minister’s office, he hangs a lab coat on the back of his chair which reminds him his election pledge-focus on healthcare.

However, in Bhutan people don’t have to pay directly for healthcare but the PM says that much more remains to be done despite important strides in medical treatment. The PM added, “We must now slowly put more focus on secondary and tertiary healthcare.”

Politics Is Lot Like Being Doctor 

“At the hospital I scan and treat patients. In the government, I scan the health of policies and try to make them better,” says the Prime Minister. 

“Whenever I drive to work on weekdays, I wish I could turn left towards the hospital,” said Tshering who use his own car instead of using his official chauffeur.

The Himalayan country had ended its monarchy in 2008 and believe in benchmarking itself on happiness instead of economy growth. Its capital Thimphu has no traffic lights and TV was only allowed in 1999.

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