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Public-Private Partnership Not Privatisation, Says Acting PM

Public-Private Partnership Not Privatisation, Says Acting PM
From left: Minister Inia Seruiratu and Attorney-General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament on March 12, 2018. Photo: Parliament of Fiji
March 13
12:22 2018

Public-Private Partner­ship for Lautoka and Ba Hospitals does not mean the privatisation of the Fijian healthcare sys­tem, Parliament has been told.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says it does not mean that any Fijian who visits a public hospital will end up paying more for their hospital visits.

He made this clarification yesterday following a ques­tion on the current stand of the Government in such an arrangement.

The public side of the agreement is Government while the private end will be the Fiji National Provident Fund and an internationally certified hospital which will partner with them for Lau­toka and Ba Hospital.

“It is not privatisation. I have seen a lot of people including Honourable (Bi­man) Prasad say last week that it is privatisation. Just because we have a PPP, it does not mean privatisa­tion.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum point­ed out the various ways in which a public-private part­nership will benefit Fijians.

  • Training for our doctors.

“As has been highlighted on a number of occasions, there are a number of ser­vices currently not availa­ble in Fiji primarily because of a lack of personnel. It is not because Fijians are not capable of doing it, it is be­cause of lack of training, a lack of exposure, a lack of specialised training, lack of specialised accessibility to various procedures. For example, if you do not have open heart surgery being carried out in Fiji, obvious­ly, the doctors here cannot learn about it in a practical sense because it is not done here,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

  • Medical tourism.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that in Australian public hospitals, the waiting time was 2 hours 20 minutes on average. And, because of the long list, a number of people weren’t access­ing elective surgeries. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained that having an international certified hospital in Fiji will also mean that people from the Pacific and even Austral­ians who are insured can come to Fiji for number of surgeries.

  • Expanding our hori­zons.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained that Fiji was to host an international semi­nar but because the West­ern Division did not offer a number of emergency ser­vices if the need arose, the seminar was moved out of Fiji. With an internation­ally certified hospital, such seminars could confidently be held here.

  • No additional cost to Fi­jians.

He explained to dif­ferent Opposition members Fijians who had been ac­cessing public health ser­vices. He said the target was also for those Fijians who had traditionally opted to go overseas for their medical check-ups to keep that mon­ey in Fiji by getting checked locally.

  • The PPP agreement also has a provision that the in­ternational hospital group will also build a hospital here. This is in addition to Ba and Lautoka hospitals being taken in under this agreement.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said before the expression of in­terest was advertised for the partnership, Government had reached out to doctors and nurses in Ba and Lau­toka hospitals where he received overwhelming sup­port for the agreement.

Edited by Percy Kean

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