16 Feb 2012

Health care crisis in French Polynesia deepens

12:54 pm on 16 February 2012

French Polynesia's medical system is in crisis as the cost of running the government's health insurance scheme outstrips the cost of care.

Doctors are in a protracted dispute with the health ministry and insurance administrators over payments.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says the cost running the medical insurance bureaucracy is greater than the salaries of the scheme's doctors to provide care.

He says clinics and hospitals on some islands are now left without doctors, meaning patients are missing out on treatment.

"And it's not only the case in Moorea it's the case in the Marquesas Islands. So actually what we are seeing and everybody agrees we are seeing a collapsing of the medical system that has been established in the past fifty years in Tahiti."

Alex Du Prel says meetings between the doctors, insurers and the government are expected to reach a resolution by the end of this month.