Director General of Health insists on patient benefits, not other people's wishes

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has rubbished the claim that the merger of the Ministry of Health and National Health Services, will dissolve the Allied Health Services (A.H.S.). 

A.H.S., as it has been explained, is a group of professional health workers such as physiotherapists, radiologists, lab technicians, biomedical engineering staff, nutritionists and dietitians.

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Leausa said: “We are not dissolving A.H.S. 

“Instead, they will be working at their own different areas of expertise, as I have explained above.” 

He also made it clear that there will be no A.H.S. Division, which means there will also be no Manager for A.H.S. 

Last week, members of A.H.S. appealed to the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, to reconsider the decision by Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, to remove the Allied Health Services from the proposed merger structure.  

The eight-page letter requested the retention of the A.H.S. under the Hospital and Medical Services, in the proposed Public Service Commission’s merger structure, for the Ministry of Health. 

The A.H.S. also expressed their strong opposition against their being removed, as they are not known health specialists, and they are autonomous health professions who have undergone, up to five years of studies in professional institutions, where they studied the same medical, and core science subjects to become specialists, in their field of work. 

According to Leausa, the A.H.S. division was established recently.

He said: “At the moment, in the carrying out of their responsibilities, the X-ray technicians would consult with the Radiologists, whereas the Laboratory Technicians would consult with the Pathologists, when patients’ problems arise. 

Leausa also explained: “The current arrangements at N.H.S. has a division for A.H.S. which happens to have a physiotherapist as Manager, and all other allied health workers, would report to her. 

“This equates to the fact that she has minimal insight of what biomedical engineers, nutritionists and dietitians, social workers, plus all other various allied health personnel, are doing.”

It is understood that the A.H.S. have requested that they be made the stand alone division; however, it is also understood that Leausa will not have any of it.  

Leausa said: “This will encourage fragmentation of the service. The main aim of the merger is to improve the service to the members of the public.”

In response to claims that A.H.S. is needed by the hospital and yet they do not want to work under another division, Leausa said their services are required “but they cannot work standing alone. 

“They have to work as teams with doctors and nurses. This is the reason we are putting them under the clinical manager division.” 

Leausa concluded that the need for M.O.H. and N.H.S.  to work as a team and not in divisions, is of paramount importance. 

He said: “This way the patient benefits. Indeed, this is a management call, and it is not based on the wishes of the few.”

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