Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On
Would the Ministry of Health consider having a paying section at its hospitals? They already have paying wards. What about a paying section for the General Out Patients Department and Special Out Patients Department?
Why a paying section? Here are some reasons and suggestions:
- Many people can afford to pay for medical services but dislike the long wait and the large crowds.
- Private doctors have limited facilities. Few have beds to keep patients on a drip and few have x-ray machines, or the facilities to analyse blood tests. They will examine you but if it's serious they refer you to the hospital. And when you come to the hospital you pay because you are referred from a private doctor. Why not go directly to the hospital and pay?
- When the Ministry of Health introduced the pay system for hospital wards the number of people diminished so much that I presume only people who had real illnesses came to be seen. But there could have been other reasons.
If we had a pay system, the hospital could be earning revenue that could help better staffing.
And then tourist brochures could say that the Lautoka/CWM hospital has a paying section of international standards. The MOH could also include the public hospital paying sections in insurance policies just like private practitioners. And who knows, specialist doctors could be brought.
There is, however, another reason why the Lautoka Hospital place is always so full. It is not unusual to see six or seven people accompanying one sick person. When the out patient's number is called out, all of them stand up. One person accompanies the sick person to the doctor's room and the rest then sit down again . I've seen sick people having to stand because there is no more room to sit.
Perhaps signs could be put up, or the orderlies could ask people if they were there to see the doctor, and if they are not, they could be asked to stand or move out so the sick could sit.