8 Jul 2014

Skilled Fiji doctors going overseas

8:15 pm on 8 July 2014

The Fiji Medical Association says a doctor shortage in the country is due to skilled, senior physicians leaving for better opportunities overseas.

Its president, James Fong, says the government has been effective in creating new jobs for doctors and nurses, and increasing the number of graduates.

But he says a lack of senior physicians means the level of care can be compromised, and junior doctors starting work are not being properly mentored.

Fiji doctors are leaving

Fiji doctors are leaving Photo: AFP

Dr Fong says a whole range of retention strategies, such as pay, conditions and the number of hours doctors work need to be looked at.

"If there is any area of improvement the government has to work on, it is the area of strengthening retention measures so that we can ensure that the people who are around can stay and mature within the system long enough so they have the capacity to want to and supervise the younger ones coming through."

James Fong says the Ministry of Health should organise a forum for stakeholders to discuss the issues.