The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will undertake new action plans to improve the public health care services in Fiji. This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar while speaking in the parliament today.
Minister Akbar outlined a number of initiatives that would be implemented to increase the health care accessibility. The initiatives highlighted included the Nurses Specialisation Program, arrangement of locum doctors, free medicine program and capacity building of medical expertise.
“The Ministry embarked on a nursing specialisation program over the past several years that sent our nurses overseas for attachments in specialised areas. These nurses have performed extremely well and have brought knowledge and expertise back to Fiji that they can pass on to their counterparts.
“We are working with the Ministry of Civil Service to develop the remuneration packages and structure that we need to recruit and retain top-talent,” Minister Akbar said.
The Health Ministry will also embark on new measures to reduce the long patient waiting queues in public hospitals.
“We have confirmed that there will be a pooling of locum doctors who can fill in during busy periods to help remedy the doctor shortages we face. That means shorter queues and more opportunities for Fijians to seek treatment when they need it. A locum arrangement with Nadi Hospital is currently underway and others will start up around the country on the basis of need.
“The locum arrangement will bring in general practitioners to support our health sector in critical areas. It is an immediate fix to the service delivery issues that we face until we are able to staff our hospitals appropriately. Substantial resources are allocated towards recruiting doctors from overseas to fill gaps in both the clinical and public health arenas.
“We are currently working intimately with the Ministry of Civil Service to fill those gaps, so far have approved 879 new positions for medical superintendents, consultants, Chief, Principal and Senior Medical Officers and medical interns and assistants.
“So far we have filled 553 of those positions, and we will continue to seek qualified professionals for the remaining 326 spots. These new recruitment efforts come on top of the recent pay-rise ranging from 56 percent to 81 percent for our doctors, which has made major strides in increasing job security and satisfaction, it has given our doctors the professional recognition they deserve,” Minister Akbar elaborated.
In the new action plan, the Ministry will aspire to develop hospitals that provides clean environment and professional healthcare services delivered with a lot of compassion and empathy. As of end of this month, a compiled a list of medicines will also be made freely available to eligible members of the public, through the Fijian Government’s Free Medicine Program.