CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. This article is from her desk. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
Service disruption at Suva Private Hospital’s Medical Centre (outpatient facility) will undoubtedly affect consumers by giving them the extra run around.
This is certainly not the first time Suva Private Hospital has caused this inconvenience to consumers who are prepared to pay for the required service.
The discussion on legislative changes between Suva Private Hospital and Ministry of Health is an internal matter that should be resolved without causing any inconvenience to consumers. Why should the consumers be left to suffer while the authorities sort out issues?
The Council’s key concern is the continuity of the service and problems it can cause whereby consumers who visit Suva Private Hospital during the day for any sickness will have to seek medical attention elsewhere if they fall sick again at night. This would not only be of inconvenience to consumers but it may cause confusion as patient medical history will not be with the other doctor who would be attending to the patient during the night. This will undoubtedly be an added cost to the consumers.
Some consumers have paid up premium health insurance that provides them access to the Suva Private Hospital services. How will these consumers benefit from their health insurance if they visit Suva Private between 6-pm to 7am?
The early closure of Suva Private Hospital outpatient services will also add extra burden on CWM Hospital which is not adequately resourced to handle the pressure at odd hours. Council’s quick survey on the opening hours for general practitioners along Suva Nausori Corridor revealed that 8pm is the latest time a general practitioner offers his/her service while majority close for business at 5pm. This excludes the weekend when the services are offered for half day on Saturday and hardly on Sunday.
Hence, closure of Suva Private Hospital outpatient services from 6pm to 7am will be of great inconvenience to a lot of consumers.
The Council calls on the health ministry to regulate the operations Suva Private Hospital as well like other hospitals. This will ensure patient priority and effective running of the hospital by its management.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER