21 Sep 2005

Samoan Medical Assn not bothered by possibility of NZ doctors doing strikers work

10:14 am on 21 September 2005

The Samoan Medical Association is not bothered by the possibility New Zealand doctors might do the work of their striking Samoan counterparts.

Samoa's government-funded doctors walked off the job more than a week ago in a bid for more pay and better working conditions.

The acting prime minister, Mulitalu Siafausa, who's also the Minister of Health, says his Government has asked New Zealand's High Commission in Apia to see whether New Zealand doctors can help out during the industrial action.

A spokesman for the Samoan Medical Association, Viali Lameko, says his organisation expected the Government to seek this sort of arrangement and he's relaxed about it as he thinks it will prove too expensive for the Samoan government to sustain in the longterm.

He says going on strike was a hard decision for the public hospital doctors.

"It's our calling to be licensed to heal the sick. It's our calling to look into whatever sickness and suffering people have and you know it's also in the oath, but it's unfortunate that we have come to this decision because of our concerns regarding our salaries."

Dr Lameko says the doctors' concerns date back a decade.