Premila Kumar. File Photo.
The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the policy implementers in the heath sector to ‘wake up’ to Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama’s call to improve the quality of health services in the country.
Despite promising polices and facilities put in place by the State, the country’s health care system remains a critical issue for the Fijian consumers.
The Council applauds the Prime Minister for his political will to reform the country’s health sector in a bid to upgrade service delivery in particular, his plea to the public servants attached with the health sector to improve on their attitude and zeal as they provide service to the public.
The country may have the best policies and state of art facilities available but the system begins to crumble if the implementers and gatekeepers fail to deliver.
Ultimately, it is the public which pays a price for the inefficiency.
A glaring example is the ineffectiveness of the Fiji Medical Council and the Fiji Dental Council which has been set by the Government to deal with complaints related to health services. If this organization was effective in its disciplinary procedures then that would have sent a strong message to both public and private health practioners that laxity has no place in the health sector. In the absence of an effective institution and speedy process, it is expected that health service providers will continue with their shrewd conducts where consumers will be left to suffer.
There are still a number of people with complaints bordering on medical and dental negligence, lodged with the Fiji Medical and Dental Secretariat, who are still waiting for redress. This Secretariat has been established with the aim to resolving disputes by consumers swiftly and efficiently. However, this is not the case as consumers await justice to happen.
The delay in providing redress to the aggrieved complainants in itself creates a picture of incompetency and puts the intergrity of such Government bodies on test. Government’s efforts to bring order and provide redress in a timely and transparent manner is derailed.
Justice delayed is as good as justice denied. Why the long wait? Consumers want speedy resolution of consumer complaints. Indeed, for many of them, resolution represents an essential first step in the healing process.
Health is a crucial area of development and all stakeholders need to work together, taking a multi-dimensional approach to improve the quality of health service delivery to the public. However, what is needed is service minded professionals, who value life.
Ms. Premila Kumar, CEO
Cionsumer Council of Fiji