23 Mar 2005

Improve dialysis facility before building new hospital, says Samoa Opposition leader

3:17 pm on 23 March 2005

Samoa's Opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, is continuing to criticise the government over plans for a new hospital because he says the cost could be higher than projected.

The government is applying for Japanese backing for the project which is estimated at 40 million US dollars.

The prime minister says the hospital, which will be in the centre of Apia, will be closer at hand for most people living in the capital, than the existing facility at Moto'otua.

Le Mamea Ropati says the cash should be channelled into pay for doctors and nurses, and improving both rural clinics and the country's recently-introduced first renal dialysis facilities.

Le Mamea says the total cost isn't clear-cut.

"We don't know how much it's going to cost eventually, to run this operation, so I would rather see the money to improve on these new facilities rather than building a new hospital right now, which is going to cost us a lot of money eventually."

Le Mamea Ropati says he thinks the government's general idea for a new hospital is a good one, but he wants to learn more about the details of its specific plan.