The Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Talalelei, is serious about addressing complaints about “shortcomings and inadequacies” of health workers.
In fact, he told the Samoa Observer it is one of his major concerns, which he and the staff are actively working to address.
“Cabinet recently approved internal measures for the hospital to assure that complaints are addressed accordingly,” he said.
“The hospital will soon have a booth somewhere in the lobby where the public can submit complaints about anything pertaining to the hospital, services, nurses attitudes, physicians, administrations... any complaint will be submitted directly at this booth.”
The Minister said the decision is long overdue.
“This was prompted following numerous complaints that have not been addressed by the hospital. I have people who come up to my office to see me, complaining about the services."
“Yet these issues should be directed towards the hospital... then I have to call the hospital and demand answers."
“While I don’t mind taking on complaints ... yet this happens because the public do not know where to go when they need help or when they want answers.”
The Minister said there are too many complaints against the hospital services that are not being addressed properly, or in a timely manner.
“Sometimes the public feel their concerns are not being taken seriously by the hospital and yet complaints are just as important,” he said.
“This is where we know the standard of services we are providing, whether improvements are needed and that is why complaints are just as important.”
The Minister of Health also accepts that customer service by the hospital is not up to par with professional standards.
Tuitama expressed sympathy for members of the public who encounter issues with “attitudes of the nurses or the administration.”
According to Tuitama, the lack of action on complaints has led to many people raising these issues in the media.
“We both know this does not end well for the Health sector when issues are being publicly addressed, when it can be dealt with properly."
“They have the right to complain and we have the obligation to respond... the turn around time should be within a week."
“Sometimes the staff does not want to face up to their shortcomings and inadequacies but those are the things that will improve the services is to listen to the complaints.”