13 Sep 2005

Samoa Medical Association doctor says government offer too little, too late

2:23 pm on 13 September 2005

A spokesperson for the Samoa Medical Association says an offer from the government of a remuneration package, spread over three years, is too little, too late.

Dr Viali Lameko says public service doctors will continue their strike because they've been negotiating for two years, and they don't want to wait another three years before one of their demands is met.

He says the government offer of a starting salary for doctors at nearly 11,000 US dollars is not set to come into force until 2007.

Dr Lameko says the government has also not honoured its promises that were made after doctors went on a 24 hour work to rule in April this year, so they're wary about what is being offered now.

And, he says the strike is having an impact in the hospitals with many services withdrawn.

"All these wards; pediatrics, surgical, medical, ante-natal wards; no-one is doing any ward rounds as far as I'm concerned because all of those doctors are on strike. There will be no more special clinics, that is all the medical clinics, surgical clinics, gynae clinics - there'll be none of those. And, there'll be no elective surgery as well."

Dr Lameko says they have, however, agreed to attend life threatening emergencies.

The government has announced it will establish a commission of inquiry to look into the grievances but Dr Lameko says after two years of negotiations, these are already well known.