December 10, 2016 10:18 am

More doctors for peak operating hours

The deploying of locum doctors during peak operating hours in major health facilities around Fiji is well in progress, with a total of 37 locum appointments made in less than two months.  This follows the strengthened partnership between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Fiji College of General Practitioners (FCGP). The initiative […]

The deploying of locum doctors during peak operating hours in major health facilities around Fiji is well in progress, with a total of 37 locum appointments made in less than two months. 

Assistant Minister for Health Hon. Alex O’ Connor ( right) with DMO North, Dr Tevita Qoroniasi and Medical Officer Qamea Health Centre Dr Watisoni Soloto (left) on Qamea Island.
Assistant Minister for Health Hon. Alex O’ Connor ( right) with DMO North, Dr Tevita Qoroniasi and Medical Officer Qamea Health Centre Dr Watisoni Soloto (left) on Qamea Island.

This follows the strengthened partnership between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Fiji College of General Practitioners (FCGP).

The initiative has been enhanced through the leadership of Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar. Locum arrangement is one of the key strategies undertaken by the Ministry to reduce the patient waiting time. Based on the current arrangements, the General Practitioners are paid a rate of $50 while specialists are paid $80.

“In terms of the locum arrangements with the Fiji College of General Practitioners, the support rendered by the college is commendable. We had initially started the locum arrangements in Nadi Hospital and at the moment we have six locum General Practitioners (GP’s) and one at Namaka health centre,” Minister Akbar said.

“In total there are 27 General Practitioners and 10 specialists appointed to date. The Ministry has also received a few expression of interests by GP’s to start work at Ba Mission Hospital as well, so it’s progressing quite well. Through this initiative, the Ministry has been able to reduce the waiting hours for patients and to ensure they receive the health care they require. This arrangement has to continue till we are able to ease the doctor shortages.  The Ministry is encouraging more GP’s to come on board as the rate we are giving them is quite lucrative and we need their services as well during the peak operating hours.”

Some of the positive impacts of locum arrangements as reported by the major hospitals indicate an improvement in the health services. It reduces the workload of the doctors in the hospitals and gives them more time to focus on patient care and it has also reduced the waiting time for patients. This initiative also broadens the networking between the doctors in hospitals and the General Practitioners in terms of sharing information for enhanced collaboration.

Through the locum arrangements, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has reached out to the following health facilities to ease patient waiting hours: CWM Hospital, Lautoka and Labasa Hospitals, Central Health Services (Makoi Health Centre, Samabula Health Centre, Lami Health Centre, Raiwaqa Health Centre and Valelevu Health Centre), Tamavua Twomey, St Giles, Western Health Services (Nadi, Sigatoka, Namaka and Ba).

Locum services is provided primarily in the following departments: (Accident and Emergency Units, Paediatric Unit, Anesthetic, Physician,Obstetrics and Gynecology, Eye Unit and Dermatology).  

For locum appointments, there is a criteria in place, applications can be made through major and subdivisional hospitals and appointment is made on a needs basis. Doctors will need to submit their annual practitioners licence with the application forms and other documentations as advised.