Opinion

Patient Care Paramount In Any Health Service

The open dialogue between new doctors and the Government on Tuesday was a positive move. The doctors were able to express themselves freely and raise their concerns. The Government, through
19 Jan 2017 11:00
Patient Care Paramount In  Any Health Service

The open dialogue between new doctors and the Government on Tuesday was a positive move.

The doctors were able to express themselves freely and raise their concerns.

The Government, through the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Philip Davis, were able to clarify issues and eliminate misunderstanding that might have existed previously.

No other government has done so much to help improve the doctors’ salary and work conditions than this Government in a bid to boost our health service and prevent our doctors from going to work overseas.

Mr Davis is right when he says we cannot compare our health system to New Zealand’s. Everything is relative. NZ is a developed country with a bigger economy. We are a developing nation with a small economy.

We cannot have the same budget allocation as NZ has. But even with its position of advantage, New Zealand faces continuing financial challenges to maintain its health system.

NZ government documents show that financial sustainability remains an ongoing concern, given the ageing population, staff salary negotiations, and generally higher public expectations regarding service.

Last year, the District Health Boards (DHB), which manage public funds for designated regions, took drastic action to contain costs.

They introduced no replacement policy when staff left. This enraged the doctors who had to work longer hours to maintain service.

This week, NZ junior doctors went on strike, in protest against rosters involving as many as 12 consecutive days at work, which they say are unsafe.

DHBs are under pressure to deliver more during a period of constrained increases in funding.

Just as an illustration, DHBs reported an overall deficit of NZ$65.6 million (FJ$98.14m) for 2014/15 against a budgeted deficit of NZ$23.9 million (FJ$35.76m).

The pressure on DHBs to achieve a break-even position creates continuing business and audit risks for many DHBs.

Mr Davis has clearly stated that we cannot afford the NZ system. Even NZ is facing big challenges.

We have to make do with the resources available and prioritise projects. Expensive equipment and facilities must be maintained and protected so that they can last for a long time.

The other important issue is the attitude of medical professionals like doctors.

There is a perception that doctors and nurses have a superiority complex. This has been influenced by the way they communicate with patients.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum touched on this when he spoke to the new doctors. He said doctors should respect their patients in the way they talk to them and treat them.

As their salaries and conditions improve, their communication should also improve.

All patients have every right to access information about them.

They cannot be left in the dark wondering what their conditions are.

Providing the highest of quality patient care should be our main objective.

Every patient deserves being treated with respect and dignity. This should be at the centre of this goal.

We can have the best equipment and facilities, but they mean little if the medical people fail to treat their patients with respect.

 

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



Five square Da Bang Sale


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