Government’s announcement that it will enter into a public/private sector deal to operate our hospitals is nothing new, it is stolen from the Fiji Labour Party manifesto said Labour Mahendra Chaudhry.
“A State/private sector partnership to run our hospitals has been an integral part of Labour’s health policies since 2001. It featured large in our 2001, 2006 and 2014 electoral platform,” said Mr Chaudhry.
“It was based on the appalling state of our heath care facilities, allowed to deteriorate by successive governments to the point where people were dying from wrong diagnosis, there was chronic shortage of basic as well as life saving drugs and skilled doctors, nurses and paramedics.
“We also recognised that the majority of our people were too poor to afford expensive privately operated medical centres.
“Labour believes that everyone has a right to adequate health care and medical treatment,” said Mr Chaudhry.
This is what Labour promised in its Party manifestoes:
- 2001 Manifesto: “Management of specialist and divisional hospitals such as CWM,Lautoka, Labasa and Nadi will be contracted out to private health care providers to raise the standard of curative health care. There will be no job losses. Contracting out management will bring in expertise and technology not usually available through the public service system”
- .2006 Manifesto: “Management of major hospitals will be put on public/private sector contracts. Labour acknowledges that the specialised skills and expertise of the private sector needs to be enlisted to fix chronic problems facing our hospitals and health centres. Labour will, therefore, put the management of our hospitals under public/private partnership arrangements . the management company will be responsible for all staff matters. It will upgrade and modernise equipment and supplies and ensure delivery of quality service to the public
- 2014 Manifesto: “ Management of specialist and divisional hospitals such as CWM, Lautoka, Labasa and Nadi will be contracted out to private health care providers to raise the standards of curative health care. There will be no job losses. Full fledged hospitals will be constructed in Nasinu and Ba. Contracting out management will bring in expertise and technology not usually available through the public service system. More specialist doctors will be recruited under special arrangements to overcome skills scarcity in this area.”
An integral part of our health care platform is our promise to set up a national health insurance scheme to be operated through the Fiji National Provident Fund. This has been on the Labour agenda since 1999.
Had Labour been allowed to serve its term in office, a national health insurance scheme for workers would have been in operation for the past 18 years.
For the AG to announce these plans on the eve of elections, after practically 11 years in office, shows that government really has no idea on how to tackle our health problems and is now desperately trying to woo voters with borrowed ideas.
This is not the first time Fiji First has copied Labour’s policies. The social welfare policies on old age pensions for those over 60 with no other means of income , free bus travel for pensioners and the elderly are among Labour policy initiatives that have been stolen.