The report in Fiji Times dated 1st June 2003 on limiting of outpatients to only 150 at the CWM hospital during the South Pacific Games is appalling and condemned outright.
This is absolutely unacceptable. All poor patients seeking treatment at the CWM Hospital should be attended to and not turned away to make room for SPG participants and visitors. South Pacific Games or any other event, no matter how important, should not be at the expense of the poor patients of our nation.
The already suffering poor patients cannot be subjected further ordeal at our pathetic health facilities around the country.
Apparently patients will be advised to seek treatment from their nearest health centres and hospitals. But the patients and public is well aware of the deplorable state and the pathetic services provided at our health centres.
They do not have the full complement of doctors and nurses. There is lack of drugs and dressings and other basic necessities. They lack diagnostic equipments and facilities. This is the main reason why poor patients travel long distances to CWM Hospital in the hope of getting good service.
They do not love to spend their hard-earned and scarce dollars to travel all the way to CWM hospital. They are compelled to do so.
Now the services provided at the nations main base hospital is also questionable as reports prove. The incident of non-functioning CT scan equipment is shocking. Apparently there is no forward planning in the ministry. A functioning CT scan could have saved the lives. Needless to say, a well-equipped and well-staffed hospital can function optimally and be in the business of saving lives and alleviating pain and suffering. The opposite is happening right now around the country. Many lives are lost as a result.
With the SPG, the chances of the fearful SARS reaching our shores are real. We need to take all the precautions and be ready for it, should it strike.
I urge the government to find other ways and means to provide the services to the increased number of patients during the SPG and other contingencies without compromising the needs of the poor local patients. I am sure it can be done.
Dr. Gunasagaran Gounder
Member of Parliament