The National Federation Party says it will establish a National Hospital Service that will be solely responsible for all aspects of our health and medical services including timely recruitment of specialists if it forms Government.
“The running of our public hospitals, health centres and pharmacies should be solely left to experienced and dedicated professionals and not politicians as evidenced by their absolute failure to improve our public health and medical service”, said NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad
Professor Prasad was responding to a report on the non-recruitment of specialists despite rushing through Parliament, legislation to this effect.
“The current Government has miserably failed to improve our health system with the latest episode being the non-recruitment of specialists for our hospitals despite rushing through a Bill for enactment in Parliament almost 6 months ago”.
“The question that arises is what was the need to enact the Medical and Dental Practitioners (Amendment) Act in Parliament under Standing Order 51 in April this year supposedly under the urgency to recruit specialists and bypassing the Medical and Dental Council preventing them from scrutinising the qualifications of those recruited?” asked NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad
Professor Prasad said when the NFP questioned the rush to enact the legislation and requested it to be put to scrutiny through a parliamentary select committee, both the Attorney General as well as the Minister for Health told Parliament there was no need for this as specialists were urgently needed.
“Six months later we are told that there is no confirmation of when the specialists will be available in our hospitals. This is despite the fact that the Health Minister visited India early this year before the enactment of the legislation specifically to recruit doctors and specialists”.
“The provision in the legislation for the Minister to circumvent the normal procedure of doctors serving for 4 months before being registered by the Medical or Dental Councils, we were told was necessary to speed up the process of recruitment. The relevant Council is now required to comply with the Minister’s directive and issue registration certificate to specialists recruited by Government.”
“Failure to comply with the Minister’s directive would mean a fine of up to $10,000 for the relevant Council and a fine of up to $5,000 or a term of imprisonment of 2 years or both for Council members”.
“Yet there is no compulsion on Government to comply with a stipulated timeline to recruit specialists. The current Government is seemingly oblivious to the plight of our people and the deteriorating state of our public hospitals”.