Partnership to bring better hospitals, cutting edge treatment

Fijian Government officials, Aspen Medical CEO, Bruce Armstrong, with FNPF CEO Jaoji Koroi and staff. Picture: SUPPLIED

CUTTING-EDGE treatments such as radiotherapy for cancer and the 24/7 availability of cardiac surgery will be soon available, for the first time, in Fiji.

This is expected to stem from a partnership between the Fijian Government and Aspen Medical Pty Ltd an internationally-certified hospital based in Canberra, Australia.

The Fijian Government has signed a Letter of Award with to equip, maintain and operate the Ba and Lautoka hospitals.

According to a Government statement, the institution will also undertake a vast upgrade of the Lautoka Hospital, bringing specialised, high-quality medical services and modern health facilities direct to all Fijians.

This will also enabled treatments such as tertiary care, better maternity care and expanded treatment options for NCDs.

The statement highlighted that Aspen Medical was selected by the Fijian Government following a competitive tender process that began in March 2018.

The Fijian Government also received technical expertise on the project structuring and tender process from the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group.

Permanent Secretary for Fiji’s Ministry of Economy Makereta Konrote said with this step, healthcare in Fiji would undergo a revolution that will dramatically improve the well-being of our Fijians.

She also thanked in particular Fiji’s Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for his “strategic guidance” towards this project

“With his support, we have identified a partner with the right mix of experiences building local capacity and addressing the major health challenges facing the Fijian people,” Ms Konrote said.

“Fiji’s strong economic position has paved the way for an international partnership of this capacity — one that will deliver world-class, specialised healthcare for Fijian families at zero additional cost to the patient.”

Under the terms of the public-private partnership agreement, Aspen Medical will provide more modern medical equipment and will manage and maintain the clinical health services and the hospitals. This will be done by working with existing health staff at both facilities and providing staff with new training and opportunities to work with the latest medical equipment.

In addition, the operator will build a new hospital wing with modern facilities at the Lautoka hospital, which will increase the availability of services at the hospital as well as the number of health workers needed to staff the facilities.

Under the project agreement, both the Ba and Lautoka hospitals will be required to be fully internationally accredited.

Acting Permanent Secretary for Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services Susan Kiran saidk they were now leveraging private sector expertise and investment to improve healthcare services for all Fijians under a universal health coverage, with the hospitals remaining public, and current staff staying in their jobs.

“And all of our health workers will welcome a wealth of new training opportunities under this agreement. So it’s safe to say that this will prove to be a big win for all parties involved — for the Fijian patient, for our essential healthcare workers, and for the Fijian economy,” she said.

Aspen Medical Pty Limited has a long tradition of similar partnerships with governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the benefit of people in both developed and developing nations around the world.

“The entire global team at Aspen Medical is honoured to have been entrusted with implementing a key strategic healthcare goal for the people of Fiji. We look forward to working with the Fijian Government to further advance the bright future of this great nation by allowing Fijians to reach their full potential through high-quality medical care,” said Mr Bruce Armstrong, Group CEO of Aspen Medical.

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