Budget submission: NCCI calls for increased health allocation

Nadi Chamber of Commerce president Dr Ram Raju. Picture: FT FILE

THE Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) has submitted that it would like to see an increased budget allocation for the health sector to shoulder a number of objectives and programs to meet people’s expectations.

In their submission to the 2019/2020 national budget, NCCI president Dr Ram Raju said a more dynamic program and policies should be implemented to retain the doctors and nurses who continued to migrate.

He said an increased salary allowance in 2017 was welcome news for all the doctors in the civil service that would hopefully stop or slow down the brain drain.

“There’s a dire need for specialists in Fiji and more doctors given chances to study abroad or locally to fill the void. We need urologists, ENT surgeons, cardiac surgeons, neurologists, and dermatologist et al,” Dr Raju said.

“Shortage of drugs and other consumables continues to happen despite the existence of the National Bulk Purchase Scheme in Suva.

“Construction of private hospitals and 10-year tax amnesty will hopefully see more private hospitals in Fiji and particularly so in the Western Division.”

Dr Raju said zero duty on diagnostic equipment and some consumables would also help more private sector partnership, which he added needed to be strengthened.

He also submitted that Lautoka and Labasa hospitals should also be considered as university hospitals in the near future.

“There’s scope to turn these two into super hospitals to kick start medical tourism.”

Dr Raju said Nadi hospital also needed to be upgraded to international standards and staffed by well qualified senior doctors and specialists.

“It can also be semi-privatised. This will help provide world-class medical care to tourists and locals alike.”

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