The chronic shortage of specialist doctors at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Moto’otua was raised in Parliament yesterday.
Associate Minster and Member of Parliament for Vaisigano No. 1, Tufuga Gafoleata Faitua, said he was concerned about members of the public who are unable to find the help they need because there are hardly any specialist doctors at the hospital.
Tufuga has recently lost his wife and he had accused the hospital of being negligent.
But Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielagoi was quick to defend the heath system.
He told Tufuga that what happened to his wife was similar to what had happened to his grandson.
He reminded Parliament that doctors have the ability to know when a patient needs to be sent overseas for treatment. Similarly, they also know if an ailment can be treated in Samoa.
“Doctors know what to do,” said Tuilaepa.
“We are not God to say that they were negligent in their duty. Doctors know the kind sickness they can treat from one that needs to be taken overseas.
“The Minister has talked about the need to train doctors…most doctors that graduate from overseas are general (practitioners). They need to go back (study) to be a specialist.”
Tuilaepa recalled his last visit to India where the possibility of local doctors getting specialist training was discussed. He added that in New Zealand almost all the doctors are Indians.
Pointing to the new hospital, Tuilaepa said that is the first step in the government’s efforts to improve health services. The next step is to ensure all the equipment and the necessary machines are available.