1 Nov 2005

Inquiry into Samoa doctors' strike blames former health ministry managers

11:09 am on 1 November 2005

A commission of enquiry in Samoa has partly blamed the former management of the Health Ministry for the current strike by government doctors.

The report says the ministry didn't initiate appropriate measures to address the problems and it ignored appropriate advice from the Samoa Medical Association.

The commission said if the ministry had tried to implement some of the recommendations then perhaps problems which led to the strike wouldn't have happened.

The striking doctors asked for an increase in the starting salary of new doctors.

The commission asks the government to review the salaries of doctors, saying pay rates should reflect additional qualification, knowledge, experience and length of service.

The report also recommends an increase in staffing levels, a reduction in the working hours of doctors in the outpatients' area, and an increase in overseas doctors so local doctors can undertake specialist studies and obtain further qualifications.

The commission of enquiry also recommends a partnership to employ private doctors on a contractual basis, to help ease the current shortage of doctors in the outpatient area.

Cabinet is to continue its review of the report today before making a decision on how to proceed.