Council Supports Decision on Medical Complaints Made Public!

19/08/2016 12:12

The Consumer Council of Fiji appreciates the recent decision by the Fiji Medical and Dental Professional Conduct Tribunal to revoke a doctor’s license to practice and suspend her general registration for 10 years. This is due to unprofessional conduct during the course of providing medical care and treatment to a patient.

The stance taken by the Fiji Medical and Dental Professional Conduct Tribunal in making its decision public is a positive step towards restoring public confidence in the country’s health care sector, particularly in its complaints management system.

In the past, seeking justice for medical negligence and unprofessional conduct was a long struggle for many aggrieved consumers. Consumers contacted the Council to express concern about the laxity in the healthcare system. Some consumers complained about delays, no proper advice given to them on their grievances and no updates provided on their cases lodged at the Fiji Medical and Dental Secretariat.

The Council received a total of 83 medical-related complaints from 2011 to 31 July 2016.  Unfortunately, there are still a number of rogue doctors and dentists around, carrying on with their business as usual, failing to realize that they are service providers.

The Council applauds the announcement made by the Minister for Economy, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the 2016-2017 National Budget to set up a medical complaints hotline. This initiative will be a breakthrough to set order and bring about accountability in the health system. Consumers will be able to call and seek resolution of complaints about service delivery and the treatment by a medical practitioner, nurses, pharmacist or any person employed in the health sector.

This transparent system was long overdue to hold health professionals accountable. Once the complaints mechanism is set up, Fijians must make the most of it. They should diligently and responsibly use the complaints protocol system to raise alarm against negligence and professional misconduct or even unprofessional attitude of the security guards employed by the public hospitals. We now envisage quick redress and sound compensation for the aggrieved consumers.