General Surgeon, Doctor Basil Leodoro, who is based at the Northern District Hospital (NPH) on Santo was suspended over what the Chairman of Public Service Commission, Martin Mahe, has referred to as “insubordination”.
Mahe said the main issue which triggered the doctor’s suspension was that he failed to comply with the instructions from his superior, Director General of Health, who disapproved of his going to South Korea this year in May to accompany Vanuatu’s Under 20 World Cup Team.
Doctor Leodoro, whom Daily Post contacted for comment yesterday, has refuted the allegations.
Daily Post understands that the doctor’s letter of suspension, signed by Public Service Commission Secretary, Jacques Gedeon, did not mention the South Korea world cup trip with the national Under 20 squad as the reason for his suspension. It only mentioned Leodoro’s comment on Facebook as the reason for suspension.
Leodoro said early this year, Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) wrote to the Ministry of Health requesting Dr. Leodoro and Physio Therapist, Albert Kaiapam to be part of the medical team accompanying the Vanuatu Under 20 World Cup team to South Korea.
According to Leodoro, VFF requested that the two medical personnel follow the team to New Zealand, Singapore and then South Korea which would take approximately three months.
In response to VFF’s request, Director General to the Ministry of Health disapproved the request from VFF and suggested instead that the duo apply for leave without pay if they wished to assist the soccer team for the period of two to three months.
In respect to the decision undertaken by the Health DG, Dr. Leodoro sought permission from his superior at NPH, applied for his 21 days annual leave and left directly for Korea just in time for the games.
He did not spend three months with the team but only 21 days.
Doctor Leodoro confirmed he even organized for a doctor to be his substitute during his three weeks of absence.
On the PSC Chairman’s statement that “the doctor failed to provide a leave application form and left for Korea without proper authorization from his superior”, Leodoro said he did provide a leave application and obtained authorization from his superior.
The suspended doctor confirmed his superior submitted his annual leave application letter to the Director.
Meanwhile, Chairman Mahe admitted that Leodoro’s suspension was partly related to a post he made on Facebook, intentionally for accountability and transparent purposes, seeking answers from the Government on the Vt200 million towards Ambae volcanic disaster.
He agreed that while Leodoro has the right to express himself, he must not abuse that right.
The doctor questioned why it took the Public Service Commission four months to finally make a decision to suspend him over “insubordination” relating to the South Korean world cup trip.
Dr. Leodoro arrived in Port Vila last night from Santo with intentions to meet with PSC and the Ministry of Health to find a solution to the issue.
He is suspended on half salary as of October 26, 2017.