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Questions, Questions

Questions, Questions
Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and participants from the roadshow in the West on September 20, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers
September 22
11:00 2017

Nurses and other medical staff members are correct in seeking clarification about their contract terms.

However, they too need to take responsibility of the work they do.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum talked about an important issue – missing cutleries and bed sheets from hospitals.

This is a real shame. There have been cases where hospital bed sheets and linens have been seen at homes of staff of Colonial War Memorial Hospital. How is it identified? Every linen has CWMH written on the corners.

Now, how is this fair? Should criminal charges be laid? Would that be going too extreme?

But the fundamental problem here is the mentality of the people. Why is it that a hospital worker thinks it is alright to steal bed sheets, linens and even cutlery from hospitals? Who does that?

Another fundamental problem that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted was the arbitrary manner in which decisions were made and implemented, without being Government policies.

Case in point is that in Lautoka, one administrative staff decided nurses will need to take time-off in lieu of working overtime. Despite Government budgeting for this with money available for payment of overtime, we have nurses being told to take days off in lieu.

Now, this is not a policy implemented by Government. So, who does this? Who is to be held responsible? How can something so important be implemented without the knowledge of the Permanent Secretary?

There are no clear guidelines, it seems. Or, guidelines are there but people chose to ignore it.

In another case, nurses at CWM Hospital are given breakfast when they start work at 6.30am but nurses in clinics such as in Valelevu do not have this provision.

Why? They start the same time so who decided that one set of nurses will have this privilege and others would not?

Another case which has been highlighted was that certain nurses are not provided drop offs when they finish what is called graveyard shifts, the late night/ early morning shift.

They were being dropped off before, but someone somewhere decided this practice should stop.

Currently, lab technicians in CWM Hospital are said to be working double shifts because of short staff numbers. 23 positions were advertised in March but till date those have not been filled.

People need to understand that policy decisions are made by Ministers but administrative matters such as staffing should be dealt with by Permanent Secretaries.

It becomes the responsibility of Ministers to ensure adequate funding is made available, which has been in these cases, but it is the responsibility of the Permanent Secretaries to ensure that money is utilised properly.

This cannot be allowed to continue.

Edited by Mohammed Ali

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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