417 resignation in health sector in six-months

September 14, 2023 6:20 am

Over 400 doctors, nurses, and allied health workers have resigned in the last six months.

Health Minister Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu confirmed this in parliament through a written response.

According to the minister, this includes 326 nurses, 54 medical officers, and 37 allied health workers, including five dieticians, six environmental health officers, 11 laboratory technicians, 12 medical imaging technologists, and three physiotherapists.

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Doctor Lalabalavu says these attrition numbers are due to many pull and push factors that include emigration, the search for greener pastures, education, family welfare, higher salaries, and aggressive recruitment techniques by overseas recruitment agencies and local private hospitals.

He says these losses impact their ability to deliver quality services and also increase the burden for those who remain with the ministry.

However, he says they have also pursued capacity building for their current workforce with the support of central government agencies supplemented by development partners.

Doctor Lalabalavu says in-service training for medical officers has ensured that their doctors are upskilled and updated while attaining postgraduate qualifications.

He says for the 2023 academic year, the Australia Government for Pacific Scholarship for midwifery sponsored 20 registered nurses through its in-service training budget.

He further adds that a total of 40 registered nurses are expected to graduate as midwives and will be formally recruited next year.

For doctors, he says a total of 150 interns were recruited in January this year, while 80 medical officers have been recruited, with more to be recruited as soon as they complete their internship.

For oral health practitioners, 205 were recruited, and another 25 were recruited in the last financial year, bringing the total to 230.

Doctor Lalabalavu says for allied workers, 558 of the 717 positions have been filled, and 87 more post were processed in the last financial year.