The services at the Vila Central Hospital needs more consideration and further input into its service deliveries and facilities, stated some unhappy patients.
WHEN TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VANUATU visited the Vila Central Hospital this week, it was clear that the staff of the VCH are not very punctual. The outpatient doors were not open until after 8:00am.
A mother who spent a night in the emergency room with his sick son finally took their treatment the next day, she said it is disappointing when patients turn up on time for their appointments but the doctors and nurses are not on time.
“Our children are suffering yet we have to wait for those doctors and nurses to be on time to give us the treatments needed,” said the mother.
“We pay their salaries, so they should be here on time to serve us, instead our sick children have to suffer in this uncomfortable hot weather waiting for them to turn up,” she said. Another mother told TIV that she once brought her sick son to the new hospital building thinking the services would be different, but it turned to be different from what she had expected.
“My son was crying because he was sick, yet we had to wait for hours before getting all our treatments,” she said.
She said they came in to the hospital around 10am in the morning, when they were sent off by the doctor to get blood tests it was already lunchtime. The poor mother, trying to save money so she could not go home and then come back again in the afternoon, she had to wait around the hospital until 1:30pm.
“Although a few mothers were selling food at the hospital premises, there is no canteen where patients can buy something to eat if their treatments are not complete by lunchtime,” she said.
The disappointed mother continued “it was a long wait again in the afternoon before taking medications from the pharmacy, we left the hospital after 3:00pm in the afternoon”.
Vanuatu activist, Mrs Jenny Ligo, stated in an email to the Public Service Department that “the Outpatient urgently needs to have a beverage machine again like it used to have at the former outward patient. As patients waiting takes longer and many children need to eat and even adults. We need a cafeteria as many patients cannot continue to wait if they are not seen before 11:30am.”
In addition, staff from the blood laboratory of the VCH always seem to come late to work. According to observations by patients, most of the blood laboratory staffs always come in to work after 8:30am to 9:00am.
Patients are also complaining about the hospital facilities such as poor air ventilation in the main halls, toiletries and the lack of cafeteria.
TIV understands that the Public Service Commission (PSC) is adopting a new Performance Management System (PMS) to assess individual public servants’ performance in various categories. This new system is offered to encourage better services.
PSC Chairman Kanam Wilson said in a Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) Meeting that, traditional weaknesses in the Public Service like time management will now be addressed through the new PMS.
“Punctuality and time management will be monitored to confirm whether a public servant is performing. If one is not performing then there are mechanisms in place to help public servants perform,” he said.
Last year TIV reported on these issues, concerning the poor and out of dated facilities, and the lack of commitment by the authorities to see that the medical field in Vanuatu operates fairly and at a high professional standard.