The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has prioritized improving the working conditions for medical professionals in its submission for the 2023–2024 national budget.
This has been confirmed by Minister, Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu, as part of efforts to address the exodus of medical professionals that remains a huge challenge for Fiji.
Dr. Lalabalavu says the improvement in salaries and infrastructure is among other areas of priority that they have taken into account.
“So, basically the infrastructure first then the remuneration … something that have been mentioned before. We have put that into consideration, into the budget submission.”
Dr Lalabalavu says Fiji cannot compete with offers from other organizations and countries but hopes that immediate actions can help retain medical professionals.
“The pull; Fiji or any other Pacific Island country cannot compete with the pay that the other countries or organizations are offering to our nurses. So, if they do want to leave for better pay … we cannot stop them. In terms of the push factor; so we are trying to improve on working conditions … paying overtime, meal allowances.”
The Minister confirms that they have made their submission for the 2023–2024 national budget, which is expected to be announced by the end of the month.