SUVA (FIJI TIMES) —The mass exodus of nurses from health centres around Fiji is affecting the provision of medical services to members of the public.

While responding to questions from The Fiji Times, divisional medical officer (DMO) Central Tevita Qoriniasi said the Nausori Health Centre had 37 vacant positions in the nursing department.

He said the current staff were tired and counselling sessions with Medical Services Pacific (MSP) were engaged for the team.

“Of the total 61 staff that resigned in the last three months, 16 were from Nausori,” Qoriniasi said.

“As far as staffing is concerned, we have 138 established positions with 39 vacancies, 37 of the vacancies are in the nursing department and two medical officers’ positions are being filled.

“On average, about 2500 patients are seen at our GOPD (general outpatient department) per week.

“This number excludes those that are seen at our SOPD (Specialist Outpatient Department) clinic and maternity unit.”

He said staff are working extra hours and that certain departments have closed.

“The current staff have to work extra hours to ensure duties are covered and shift hours have been extended to 12 hours to enable some breathing space.

“Some of the normal services like IMCI (Integrated Management of Childhood Illness) have to be closed and (this) has contributed to longer waiting time.

“It is worthwhile noting that we have expanded our services to meet the demand by introducing services that only provided in the divisional hospitals and are now decentralised to peripheral stations.”

Qoriniasi said management and the Ministry of Health have a plan in place to mitigate the current shortage of staff issue.

While delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament last week, Health Minister Dr Antonio Lalabalavu said the Ministry of Health had lost 800 nurses over the past year, including those who joined the Aspen Hospitals in Lautoka and Ba.

He said the losses impacted the ministry’s ability to deliver quality services, and also increased the burden for those who remained with the ministry…..PACNEWS

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