24 Jul 2003

Doctors in Vanuatu to consider striking again over unpaid allowances

10:47 am on 24 July 2003

Doctors at Vanuatu's Port Vila hospital say they will meet next week and could strike again if the government is not committed to paying their on-call allowances.

Doctor Richard Walsh says the government has paid them the money owing for this year but they've been told to wait for the budget before they can get any further payments for what's still owed from 1999 up until 2003.

Doctor Walsh says they are not getting paid despite having to be on-call every second week for the overnight shift, on top of their daily duties.

"It's busy, especially during the weekend its very busy and with this you get calls about three or four times a night. You are prepared to consult and then you admit them and if they need surgery then you perform that duing the night or on-call hours."

Dr Richard Walsh.

Technical staff at the hospital are also in dispute with the government and are refusing to return to full duties until they are paid 640 thousand U.S. dollars in outstanding allowances.