The Fiji Times

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM ‘Fong needs to go’ FNA: Government must act on nurses’ concerns

He is clueless about so many things in the health sector – Vudiniabol­a


BEACHCOMBE­R was told of a recent visit to the main hospital in Suva by a regular scribe who was shocked to see the sick sheet booklet chained to the doctor’s table at the Emergency Department.

Alas, what has become of our health system. The scribe later found out that sick sheet booklets apparently went missing, thus more stringent measures were adopted to ensure the availabili­ty of sick sheets.

GOVERNMENT should never underestim­ate nurses, says Fiji Nursing Associatio­n president Dr Alisi Vudiniabol­a.

Speaking on online platform, The Lens @177 she said the Coalition Government had not done what it had promised in the last meeting they had.

“They have not come back to us after our last meeting with Mr Vosarogo (Lands Minister Filimoni Vosarogo), with the people from the Ministry of Health. We were supposed to meet 14 days after that day to give them time to speed up things and correct the problems and all that,” Dr Vudiniabol­a said.

“FNA is already working on our log of claims which also goes back 10 years and there have been many things including transport, uniforms and so many things that Government needs to address. That includes what’s stated on the banner that nurses deserve to have good leadership, to have people who are qualified to be sitting and deciding for them at the Ministry of Health.

“They need to be valued,

HEALTH Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong is clueless about so many things in the health sector and needs to go, claims Fiji Nursing Associatio­n (FNA) president Dr Alisi Vudiniabol­a.

While appearing as a guest on The Fiji Times’ online platform, The Lens @177, Dr Vudiniabol­a said Dr Fong was supposed to be accountabl­e for the health services in Fiji as he was the permanent secretary.

“Sometimes I think that he doesn’t really know what’s happening within his house, within the Ministry of Health,” Dr Vudiniabol­a said.

“There are so many things that are happening and sometimes he says things that he has little understand­ing of. To fill the 800 plus vacancies created by the nurses that have migrated is just stupid, if I can call it that, because we have three schools of nursing.

“Even if they graduate 200, which is unrealisti­c, to graduate 200 nurses each it still can’t fill the vacancies and these are brand new graduates who need to still undergo years of internship, still need to learn on the job and they have competenci­es that they need to meet to be able to be fully registered and licensed to practice.”

Dr Vudiniabol­a said nurses were expecting the ministry to do “something tangible, something constructi­ve and not just say that we will fill up the vacancies”. they need to be paid what they deserve to be paid. I think the time for meetings and negotiatin­g has already gone. We’ve had so many years where our emails and phone calls have not been answered. We are tired of talking to the press and not really talking to them.”

She said FNA, and the nurses have given Government enough time to correct the wrongs that have occurred.

“But I think it’s been too long. One of the things I had asked the minister was to at least pay them in the first week of August so that they would know what

“How can they do that? He’s clueless about so many things and that’s why FNA keeps saying that he needs to go.

“He’s the person who’s supposed to be accountabl­e for the health service in Fiji and everything is falling apart. The public health and primary health has broken down.

“We don’t know what he’s doing, we don’t know what his team in headquarte­rs is doing. Every disease that you can think of, we have them. Talk about the superbug, the diarrhea problem in Ba, what is their answer.”

Dr Vudiniabol­a said chief nursing and midwifery officer Colleen Wilson “has no nursing structure in the Ministry of Health”.

She claimed that none of the nurses below Ms Wilson reported directly to her but reported instead to medical officers. Dr Vudiniabol­a said that the chief nursing and midwifery officer had no budget of her own and they were unsure of what Ms Wilson’s mandate was.

Dr Vudiniabol­a also said most of the problems that nurses were facing has to do with human resources.

Dr Vudiniabol­a had first called for the resignatio­n of Dr Fong in August when nurses staged a silent protest. they actually get from the budget and the second pay would be normalised.

“But they didn’t. They paid them in the second pay of August and when that happened, it was the end of August and we found that there were big anomalies.

“I think the FNA will continue to pursue what we feel, and what we believe is supposed to be paid for the nurses. If the Ministry of Health or the government is not prepared to honour its obligation­s to the nurses, and to look after them, invest in them then FNA will make sure that they do.”

Dr Vudiniabol­a said FNA was prepared to do that and “we are working towards making sure that nurses get what they deserve to get”.

In August this year, Dr Vudiniabol­a and FNA general secretary Filomena Talawadua met with Mr Vosarogo, Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong, head of human resources Joe Fuata, and chief nursing and midwifery officer Colleen Wilson to discuss the grievances that nurses have regarding their pay and the leadership.

According to Dr Vudiniabol­a, no feedback has been received from that meeting.

 ?? Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY ?? Fiji Nursing Associatio­n (FNA) president Dr Alisi Vudiniabol­a.
Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY Fiji Nursing Associatio­n (FNA) president Dr Alisi Vudiniabol­a.
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