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Bill Passed To Make It Easier To Recruit Health Specialists

A Bill that will ease the recruitment of medical practitioners from overseas into Fiji’s medical service was fast tracked in Parliament yesterday. The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while speaking on the
27 Apr 2017 11:00
Bill Passed To Make It Easier To Recruit Health Specialists
NFP Members of Parliament Parmod Chand (left), and leader Biman Prasad on April 25, 2017. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

A Bill that will ease the recruitment of medical practitioners from overseas into Fiji’s medical service was fast tracked in Parliament yesterday.

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while speaking on the Medical and Dental Practitioner Amendment Bill 2017, said it was an important and urgent Bill.

The Bill, he said, sought remedy to practical issues that faced the employment, practice and recruitment of medical and dental practitioners in particular those from overseas to Fiji.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said, the Act stipulated that if a person came from overseas to practise medicine in Fiji they needed to be under the mentorship of a local doctor for at least four months.

In Fiji’s situation, he said there was a great need for a lot of medical specialists.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Minister of Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar and her team would recruit medical specialists from overseas while we fix Fijian doctors to become specialists in the areas of gynaecology, neurology, etc.

He said a medical specialist from overseas with over 10 years of experience would be under the supervision of a medical practitioner in Fiji with a minimum four years of experience.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added in another case a neurosurgeon from overseas who had performed over 10,000 operations didn’t need anybody in Fiji to supervise them.

He said a medical practitioner with over 10 years of experience once they came into Fiji, the Bill allowed them to make an application to the Minister for Health and Medical Services to get an exemption whether to allow an understudy doctor to supervise them.

But, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill also provided criteria for the Minister to determine their decision.

However, he said once they were registered and licensed, they were still governed by the Fiji Medical Council where the laws of negligence and improper medical care still applied to them.

SODELPA Opposition MP, Viliame Gavoka said the Bill needed to go through the Standing Committee of Parliament before it was brought to Parliament.

National Federation Party Opposition MP, Biman Prasad, said it was important that we recruited medical specialists from overseas but the Bill needed to go through the Standing Committee of Parliament.

NFP Opposition MP, Parmod Chand said Fiji Medicine of School produce some of the best doctors and Government should focus on them rather than conducting recruitments from overseas.

SODELPA Opposition MP, Salote Radrodro said the way in which the Bill was brought to Parliament showed poor planning and preparation from the Ministry of Health.

In her response, Ms Akbar said that she would let people disrespect the hard work of her nurses and doctors that saved thousands of lives.

She said the Bill would give an opportunity for local medical practitioners to learn from overseas medical practitioners.

Ms Akbar said there was great need for overseas specialist professionals like orthopaedics, neurologists, and gynaecologists.

The Bill was passed by 29 votes to 11 while 10 didn’t cast their vote.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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