Sunvoice

Locum Rates Should Attract More Private Doctors To Help Out In Hospitals

Rosy Akbar, Minister for Health and Medical Services, has announced a major incentive for private doctors when she released the rates for locum doctors to relieve the pressure in hospitals.
05 Oct 2016 11:09
Locum Rates Should Attract More Private Doctors To Help Out In Hospitals
Editorial

Rosy Akbar, Minister for Health and Medical Services, has announced a major incentive for private doctors when she released the rates for locum doctors to relieve the pressure in hospitals.

In a ground-breaking move, Ms Akbar said general practitioners (GPs) would receive $50 an hour while specialists would get $80 an hour.

This is an increase from $30 for GPs and $50 for specialists.

These are big increases and would make locum doctors happy.

According to Wikipedia, the word “locum” is common in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom; unlike in Latin its plural is locums.

In the United States, the full length “locum tenens” (plural: locum tenentes) is preferred.

Locums are an important cog in the wheel of many health and medical services, especially in countries mentioned above.

In New Zealand and Australia, our nearest developed neighbours, locums fill a vacuum.

They have short term and long term locums on  highly competitive rates which are attractive.

Some of them work long hours to maximise their earnings at the expense of their social lives.

In New Zealand, some fresh interns, straight out from Auckland and Otago medical schools, choose to become locums after their internship.

They work hard and are able to pay off their student loan in a shorter time, before they decide to specialise.

In Fiji, we do not have a similar high number of medical graduates.

So all those graduates from here are absorbed into our hospitals and health centres, to help alleviate the doctor shortage.

The locum system not only serves an important role but it’s a financially viable  option for district health boards in New Zealand struggling to stick to their budgets.

There are no other perks added to their flat rates, unlike the fulltime employees who enjoy other conditions like leave, sickness, etc.

We have not reached the same sophistication as the health system in New Zealand in terms of medical facilities, standard of service, personnel and remuneration.

But the increasing of the locum rates is a step in the right direction.

More private doctors will be attracted by the new rates and work in the hospitals.

We can expect to see a much improved standard of service delivery in our hospitals.
Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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