Understand Issue Before Casting Criticisms
EDITORIAL: There are always two sides to a story. And the cases of supposed negligence on the part of health staff are no different.
Granted that there are great expectations from our nurses and doctors. In Fiji we have a problem of taking too much for granted.
In recent days, we have seen a distraught mother claiming negligence which led to the death of her newborn baby. This was a tragic case.
There is no doubt that the very distraught mother wants answers and she is right to demand them.
But for those who are casting aspersions on social media without having the facts at their disposal, they need to take a step back. Stop getting carried away.
Our doctors and nurses do a lot of good too and they are not applauded enough for it. When they save a life, it is considered that they are just doing their job.
Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Philip Davies, who having worked in several health systems across the world, said people have very high expectations of their health system, and that is entirely correct. After all, they pay for it through their taxes.
But, he said people also need to understand that delivering health care is often very complex and things will occasionally not go as well as they should.
When that happens, he said we need to understand why, so we are always improving.
He said: “It is widely accepted that errors in health care are usually caused by failures of systems and processes, not failures on the part of individuals. If we always try to blame someone then there is a risk that errors will be hidden or covered-up and can all too easily be repeated.
“So, criticism can be very helpful if it tells us where we need to do better – and, again, there is no health system in the world that is perfect in delivering every service for every patient every day.”
Our Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar faces the brunt of criticism if things do not go well. It is unfair for her to be blamed for every health shortcomings. She is not out there performing surgeries herself. Where possible, she does ensure resources and staffing is adequate. She ensures the right policies are in place. She does take people to task.
But, the barrage of criticism Ms Akbar has faced on social media has one questioning whether she is being picked on only because she is a woman?
How many people called up ministers in the Laisenia Qarase-led Government to complain that there was no ambulance available?
How many reached out to ministers in the Mahendra Chaudhry-led Government or reached the Parliament to meet with them?
Members of the public were not even allowed to enter the gates of the old Parliament located at Nasese without an appointment.
Ministers in the FijiFirst Government are much more accessible, but that does not mean that people take advantage of that availability.
Negative reports on social media can also be very frustrating for our doctors and nurses if they misrepresent what actually occurred, or don’t tell the full story behind an incident.
They deserve better understanding from the public. So does Ms Akbar.