19 Oct 2004

Solomons government reaches agreement with doctors on service conditions

11:12 am on 19 October 2004

The Solomon Islands government is a step closer to resolving long standing dissatisfaction from national doctors over their terms and conditions of service.

The Public Service department and the Solomon Islands Medical Association, SIMA, are reported to have reached an agreement in principle on a revised scheme of service for national doctors.

The Minister for State Assisting the Prime Minister, John Garo, says this follows weeks of negotiations and dialogue between SIMA, the ministry of health and a three member team appointed by the minister.

Many qualified national doctors have sought employment overseas in the past ten years.

Mr Garo says there are still some issues to discuss with the Ministry of Finance but both parties have agreed on a compromised package of remuneration.

He says the main objective is to offer a package reasonable enough to retain national doctors already working in the country, and bring back national doctors now working overseas.

The doctors' grievances over pay conditions led to a strike and mass resignations by national doctors in 1992 and as a result, 32 national doctors are now working overseas.