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NFP: State has failed to deliver health care

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, March 05, 2018

NATIONAL Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad says the proposed privatisation of the Lautoka and Ba hospitals under the Public Private Partnership shows that the FijiFirst Government has abysmally failed to deliver decent and quality medical and health care to the people of Fiji.

"This government paid little attention to our major hospitals and medical facilities," Prof Prasad claimed in response to the announcement made by Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. "It does not lack resources, but did not make improving medical and health care a priority."

He claimed the Government was now forcing the people in the Western Division to pay for health care.

"The A-G's announcement of a national health insurance scheme lacks merit," he said.

"The A-G has said expressions of interest (EOI) will be called first and has already revealed the Fiji National Provident Fund would be one of the partners.

"It is logical to ask why the workers of Fiji, whose interest is supposed to be protected by FNPF, have not been consulted.

"Why are the workers being made sacrificial lambs? We also ask what is the status of the public-private partnership in the construction of the Ba Hospital."

Prof Prasad also claimed this latest announcement was another gimmick designed to hoodwink the people ahead of the general election.

Questions sent to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum remained unanswered.

Last week, the Ministry of Economy announced expressions of interests would be issued to internationally certified operators to work with the State to develop, upgrade, equip and operate the two hospitals in an effort to raise the quality of their health services to meet international standards.

The project will be funded by the FNPF and a private sector operator.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the two hospitals would remain public health facilities under the proposed project and no existing healthcare staff member would lose their job.

He said six to 12 months after the private sector operator came on board, staff members at the two hospitals would be offered the choice to sign new employment contracts with the new operator or continue to work for Government in other public health facilities.

"All of our health workers, our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, dietitians and lab technicians, along with all of the allied health workers, have a critical role to play in our agenda for improving the quality of healthcare services in Fiji."

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