17 Nov 2005

Samoa expecting to send in excess of 500 medical cases to New Zealand following doctors' resignation

5:37 pm on 17 November 2005

The Prime Minister of Samoa says he expects more than 500 people to be sent to New Zealand for hospital treatment, after a mass resignation of its public hospital doctors.

25 doctors quit yesterday after an ultimatum from the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, for them to end more than two months of industrial action, or face dismissal.

He says while some doctors are working in its hospitals, sending people to New Zealand is an option.

"Those that we cannot treat here we will send over to New Zealand. For instance, we should expect to send more than five hundred cases that are too serious for us to treat here."

Tuilaepa Sailele says the government is looking to restaff its hospital with the help from private Samoan doctors and staff from overseas, which may include United Nation Volunteers.