A-G: Pandemic could change arrangement at the Lautoka Hospital

A view of the Lautoka Hospital. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The future of the private-public partnership arrangement at the Lautoka Hospital is up in the air.

Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said COVID-19 could change arrangements with Aspen Medical, the Australian firm given the contract to upgrade and manage the hospital in 2018.

He made the comment in response to a motion by National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad for an inquiry into health care and medical service.

While speaking on the motion, Prof Prasad said he had warned the A-G that the public-private partnership was “a tough one”.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the partnership to take over the Lautoka Hospital was in the very early stages.

“The reality of the matter is it has not taken off at all at the moment,” the A-G said.

“There has been some preliminary work being done and so you cannot judge it. And of course COVID-19 has now come and replaced many of these arrangements and we will see actually how these arrangements pan out.”

In March last year Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete had said Australian company Aspen Medical would take over the running of Lautoka Hospital by July, 2019.

When this did not eventuate, in September Dr Waqainabete said Aspen would take over in the first half of this year.

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