THE Ministry of Health has warned the boycotting specialists at the Suva Private Hospital (SPH) to ensure their professional indemnity is covered to avoid lawsuits against them.
Five out of the 13 specialists are government specialists who provide part-time services at the SPH.
Confirming this to The Fiji Times yesterday, Health Ministry spokesman Peni Namotu said with the government specialists withholding their services, possibilities are high that they could be sued by patients following complications.
"From the government side we would like to warn the specialists that their professional indemnity is covered when it comes to specialised cases," Mr Namotu said.
He cautioned the specialists that as part of their professional indemnity, they read and understand the fine prints before making any stand.
Mr Namotu said as far as the protest was concerned, the ministry would not get involved because SPH is a private sector entity. "All their rules and regulations are formulated by themselves and apart from the five government specialists the rest are hired by the SPH," he said.
Mr Namotu said it was about time for specialists to have a user-pay specialist facilities at major government hospitals.
Yesterday, the lawyer representing the 13 specialists, Jone Bale, said his clients were still withholding their services.
Mr Bale said they were continuing to talk and negotiate with the Toorak-based hospital.
In a paid advertisement published in The Fiji Times today, SPH said its contractual negotiations with specialists are matters of private commercial nature and they are bound by confidentiality obligations in respect of each specialist.
And despite 13 specialists withholding their services, SPH chairman Daryl Tarte said majority of the specialists continue to provide their services at the hospital.
Mr Tarte also highlighted that the hospital would not comment on the fees received by the specialists without their consent.
"SPH can state that it is looking at rationalising its fee structure in an attempt to keep costs competitive," he said.
He said some specialists had advised the hospital that they would not provide elective surgical services whilst negotiations continue.
Mr Tarte said the hospital also stopped taking appointments for its general practitioners at the medical centre since May after it faced difficulties in recruiting suitable number of general practitioners to staff the medical centre.
He said SPH continued to provide medical outpatient services at the Medical Centre, immigration and corporate medicals, radiology services, pathology services, specialist clinics, which include medical, general surgery and orthopedic, obstetrics and gynaecology, medical and surgical admissions and patient care.