The Public Service Commission (PSC) gave 10 local qualified doctors at Vila Central Hospital (VCH) an option to tender their resignation if they are not happy with their working conditions.
This has been a decision undertaken by the Commission in response to an ultimatum put forward by the medical specialists concerning outstanding grievances.
In a letter dated November 3, 2017 addressed to the Chairman of PSC, the 10 consultants outlined four main issues which are affecting their works.
They called on PSC to upgrade positions of three graduated specialists to consultant posts. The medical specialists also felt that the “pay scale between junior doctors, senior nurses and qualified clinical specialists is very small and does not at all reflect our level of qualification".
They named local specialists who have taken up more attractive job offers abroad because of the current unattractive local salary.
The doctors request that they get promoted to a higher salary grade that reflects their qualification and be paid an annual special skills allowance of Vt2 million to make up for this discrepancy.
In November 3, 2017, according to the letter content, all specific skills allowances have been ceased without prior warning.
“We request that our special skills allowances be reinstated at a minimum of Vt2 million per annum.
“Due to the untimely cessation of the special skills allowances, we hereby are giving you fair warning that we will be ceasing our specialist services.”
They want to see proper appointment of senior consultants as heads of department with appropriate remuneration.
Responding to the doctors’ concerns, Chairman stated in a letter dated November 8, 2017 that “I remind you that you are appointed as doctors to provide health services to the people of Vanuatu in view of your continuing threats to the Commission, please note that you are free to tender 3 months’ notice of resignation should you not happy with your current conditions".
Chairman Mahe however confirmed that the transfer of the three doctors raised in their letter is “now pending and put on hold on basis that they must provide in writing the assurance of their commitment to provide health services within public service to the people of Vanuatu".
In relation to the salary grades, Mahe stated that the “salary grading will be regularized with implementation of GRT effective from 1st January 2018.
“You are regarded as public servants and it will only be fair for you to await the implementation of GRT similar to other public servants as of January 1.”
The Chairman noted that with the GRT coming into effect, PSC is in the process of removing the special skills allowance in the Public Service Staff Manual (PSSM).
He said the Special Skills allowance and responsibility allowance will be taken care of by the GRT which is the government responsible authority determine the salaries, allowances and remunerations of the government employees.