Vanuatu’s main referral hospital, Vila Central Hospital

By Jonas Cullwick

Senior officials of the Public Service Commission (PSC) will meet with disgruntled staff of the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) today in an attempt to avert an all-out strike by the staff.

The staff, that number over 100 and comprise of the nursing, auxiliary, administration, and grounds-people threatened to walk out of their jobs Wednesday, but only returned to work after they were convinced that officials of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the PSC will meet this morning to answer their queries.

Dr. Santus Wari, Medical Superintendent of the hospital says that the disgruntled staff packed into the conference room in the morning demanding answers to questions over the implementation of the Ministry of Health staff structure that was recently approved with the cooperation of the PSC.

“After I assured them that the Ministry and the PSC will send staff to answer their queries, they agreed to return to work and to gather this morning to hear from the two parties,” he adds.

Dr. Wari explains that the staff members became unhappy after they found out that transfer of some of them to the new structure would not be made effective at tomorrow’s government payday.

He says only the Ministry of Health and the Public Service Commission can explain this and they will be giving such explanation today morning in their meeting with the staff.

Implementation plan for the new staffing structure of the Vanuatu Ministry of Health was officially launched in May by the Minister of Health, Jerome Ludvaune, who described the day an historic one in the development of the country’s health services.

He appealed to everyone concerned to be patient as the process would take time.

The structure will be implemented in three phases: 1) Permanent staff transfers to the new structure and key recruitment made; 2) Contract staff transfer; and 3) Recruitment for vacant positions on needs basis.

“To avoid further delay, both phases 1 and 2 will be implemented concurrently,” the Minister said.

When fully implemented the Ministry of Health will have a total of 2,525 staff positions, which will be over 100% increase to the 900 staff the ministry currently has.

The Government through the Ministry of Finance has allocated Vt200 million to start the roadmap for implementing the new MoH structure.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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