13 Jul 2006

Tonga public service redundancies cut into hospital midwifery services

3:14 pm on 13 July 2006

The Tonga Government's plan to cut hundreds of public service jobs is now impacting on maternity services.

Over the past two weeks nearly 1,000 government workers have taken redundancy as the government struggles to reduce its spending.

The Public Servants Association, which had long been critical of the cut backs, says the impact on schools has been the most noticeable, with teachers forced to cope with larger classes and reporting increasing stress.

The Association's spokesperson, Dr Aivi Puloka, who is a medical doctor, says in her own workplace four midwives have taken redundancy placing a strain on the remaining staff.

She says the staff are meeting this week to work out how to cope.

"Just to find out how we can refocus and reprioritise our duties because the obvious problem now is the shortage of midwives. And we have to look at other sources where there are midwives who may be able to be recruited for labour ward services because that is where the priority is now."

Dr Aivi Puloka