RNs - Fiji

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More nurses on payroll soon

Fiji Times, July 29, 2005

The Ministry of Health will terminate the contracts of retired nurses who have been re-employed to cater for the surplus of nurses next year.

Health chief executive, Doctor Lepani Waqatakirewa said for the first time, Fiji would have a surplus of nurses by the end of the year.

This is because 158 nurses will graduate by the end of this year, he said.

"To accommodate the new nurses, the retired ones who were re-employed will be the first ones to go," he said.

Dr Waqatakirewa said there were only 61 vacancies and in order to cater for the graduates, they could not afford to keep retired nurses who were employed on a casual basis.

He said the contract of the retired nurses was such that they had the freedom to terminate it when they chose.

Nurses fight State move

Fiji Times, July 28, 2005

The Government will lay-off re-employed part-time nurses, who work for 30 hours, from the beginning of next month.

The move has raised the ire of the Fiji Nursing Association which has labelled it as gender discrimination.

General secretary, Kuini Lutua said she was aware of the move by the Government.

"I think they are doing this to give way to the new graduates from the nursing school this year. But as it is, the nurses are underpaid and overworked and we are still fighting for their salaries and now the Government has come up with this.

"This is totally unfair and we will not allow the Government to bully us. We will fight for what we deserve," Mrs Lutua said.

Copyright © 2005, Fiji Times Limited.

Union executives misled nurses: Jale

Fiji Times, July 27, 2005

Public Service Commission chief executive Anare Jale has accused the Fiji Nursing Association of misleading members over what they term short payment to salaries.

"It is sad to note the attitude displayed by FNA officials and their obvious deliberate actions to mislead members of the public about what they term as short payment to members salaries," said Mr Jale.

He said there were two issues that affected the salaries of some nurses, which was the subject of discussions between the Commission, FNA and the Health Ministry.

"These two issues were the non-confirmation of some nurses resulting in them not being paid salary progression and some nurses entering the civil service being placed on wrong entry points and wrong assimilation of salaries," said Mr Jale.

Party heads for Labour forum

Fiji Times, July 26, 2005

The Fiji Labour Party has invited the heads of the National Alliance Party and the United General Party to its annual delegates' conference beginning tomorrow.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau and Mick Beddoes will speak to Labour delegates on issues pertaining to the 2006 General Election and the Unity Bill.

The highlight of the conference will be discussions on the party's policies.

The polices will be included in its manifesto for the 2006 elections.

The Labour convention will then be held on Saturday where the Reconciliation, Unity and Tolerance Bill will be the main topic of discussion.

Addressing the Saturday meeting will be party president Senator Jokapeci Koroi, leader Mahendra Chaudhry and deputy leader Poseci Bune.

Nurses leave strike action for last

Fiji Times, July 25, 2005

Strike will be the last resort for Fiji Nursing Association if the Public Service Commission does not amend members' salaries.

"Having a strike is the last resort we are contemplating if talks do not consider our plight seriously," FNA general secretary Kuini Lutua said yesterday.

Ms Lutua said they would be informing their members all over the country today on their decision.

The association had earlier said of seeking a mandate to strike because of a breach of agreement by the Public Service Commission over salaries.

Ms Lutua said their office received calls on Thursday from nurses around the country complaining about the cut in their salary and payment made by the Government for those who were overpaid.

An unhealthy issue

Vani Catanasiga, Fiji Times, July 24, 2005

While Fiji boasts one of the most affordable, if not free, health services in the world, it is a system riddled with inadequacies.

From doctor shortage, nurses' external migration to lack of equipment, the story is the same everywhere.

This is a problem that Fiji Nurses Association president, Simione Racolo attributes to the different political parties that come into government.

"We have political parties coming in and messing up the system. They want political mileage, they say, 'we will provide free medical care or we will scrap the costs for sleeping in hospital for one night and free medicine for all'," Mr Racolo said.

"In the end who suffers? The patients because when doctors are frustrated, they leave, when nurses are fed up, they leave because with no equipment the service is not delivered properly."

Health ministry not capable, says union

Fiji Times, July 24, 2005

The Ministry of Health should be reviewed as it is not capable of responsibilities says the Fiji Public Service Association.

Association secretary Rajeshwar Singh made the comment following the Auditor-General's investigations into the ministry's gross breach of financial procedures in a scale repair project.

The investigations into the ministry's finances stemmed from the spiralling amount of money paid by the ministry for the repair of its scales.

Junior accounting officers were alleged to have been signing cheques for more than $9000, something the chief executive of the ministry was only authorised to do.

"It is a scam and the issue should be investigated because the ministry is not capable of anything," said Mr Singh.

Pay cuts anger nurses

Fiji Times, July 23, 2005

Executives of the Fiji Nursing Association are being told to hold pocket meetings around the country as soon as possible so members can air their grievances on pay cuts recently adminstered as a result of an oversight by the Ministry of Health.

Association general secretary, Kuini Lutua, said once the association received reports from such meetings, they would look into possible strike action.

"The association needs to know the difficulties members are facing when their salaries were deducted."

She said there were 20 branches around the country and the association expected a good feedback from members on the issue to justify preparing for a national strike.

On Thursday, the association sought a mandate to strike soon because there was a breach in agreement by the Public Service Commission on the salary of nurses.

Nurses on the warpath again

Fiji Times, July 22, 2005

Members of the Fiji Nursing Association will seek a mandate to strike as soon as possible because of a breach of agreement by the Public Service Commission over salaries.

Association general secretary Kuini Lutua said nurses around Fiji called their office yesterday to complain about the cut in salaries and payments made by the Government for those who were overpaid.

"This is a complete breach of the agreement that was settled between the union and PSC to upgrade the salaries of nurses who have been working earnestly and were underpaid," she said.

She said the commission had agreed it would sort out the problems faced by the 800 nurses who had been underpaid first before looking at the overpayment made to more than 400 members.

Nurses back on night shift

Fiji Times, May 27, 2005

Nurses at an island hospital are working midnight shifts again after the hospital's generator was installed two weeks ago.

A senior staff member speaking from Lakeba Hospital yesterday said the nurses were glad to be attending to their midnight shift again under proper lighting lights.

"Shifts at the Lakeba Hospital are back to normal and the nurses are attending to the midnight shift again," the senior staff said.

At the beginning of the month, this newspaper highlighted nurses at the hospital boycotting the midnight shift because there was no electricity provided until the early hours of the morning.

The nurses boycotted the shift for two weeks, leaving senior officials to attend to patients.

Public Workers Department workers travelling to the island for the Lau Provincial Council meeting and the traditional lifting of mourning for the late President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, helped install the hospital's new generator.

Nurses want risk allowance

Reijeli Kikau, Fiji Times, April 26, 2005

Hepatitis B infection should be a concern of every health professional and health workers or people who work in hospitals, says Fiji Nursing Association general secretary Kuini Lutua.

She said it could lead to other complicated infections if not treated early and the high-risk personnel are the nurses and doctors.

"That is why FNA has been putting up to Public Service Commission a Risk Allowance to be considered for nurses," he said.

She was responding to the study that was stated in the Fiji Medical Association Journal Volume 24, 2005 and tabled in Parliament last week.

The study stated that vaccination with Hepatitis B was a standard safety measure in all major hospitals and Colonial War Memorial hospital was no different.

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