Vanuatu Director Of Health Ministry Concerned With Nurses' Media Comments

Health service restructure should be done in collaboration not via media statements: Taleo

Compiled by Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 30, 2017) – The Director General of the Ministry of Health, George Taleo says the Ministry of Health is concerned that despite making effort to inform the government about the organizational structure reform that is currently being undertaken, health staff continue to bypass the normal system of work and use the media to reflect negative remarks and statements about the work of the Ministry.

In a statement in response to comments by the nurses reflected in the article “Nurses take grievances against structure to PSC”, which is the Public Service Commission in Tuesday’s Daily Post issue, Taleo said the nurses’ comments were not assisting with the development of a very important landmark which was to ensure that health workers throughout Vanuatu were given the opportunity to receive the right salary levels as public servants, as government priority, toward a pay rise for health workers.

“In its entirety, the Ministry of Health structure has undergone several reviews and government scrutiny to try and meet the right work force at all levels of administration and operational requirement to deliver to the population of Vanuatu, appropriate and standard health care,” he said in the statement.

“It has not been a walk in the park to reach the final stages of the organization structure, as the current government has approved additional budget in 2016 to ensure that the structure which was approved in principle by PSC in 2015, can be implemented under the 100 Day Plan.

“For many health staff members who were employed by the Ministry of Health under contract employment, the government and PSC have given priority for these staff to receive permanent employment and since 2016,” The Director General of the Ministry of Health said.

He said the process of appointing 260 contract staffs into permanent positions was progressing, giving priority to nurses and doctors, most of whom have served for more than three years and on salary but were without PSC appointment.

“To inform the public of the current reform of the Ministry of Health organization structural reform, as Director General of the Ministry of Health I wish to inform the public of the following tasks which have been collaboratively undertaken by the Ministry of Health, Public Services Commission staff and the Department of Finance and Treasury Staff: Develop the required job descriptions of the revised 2015 structure; develop and align career pathways of technical positions such as nurses, doctors and allied health positions; develop and scrutinize salary levels according to Public Service salary remuneration matrix; cost the overall structure of the 2015 Ministry of Health Structure; secure additional budget for the structure reform; and Develop a Structure Implementation Plan.

“It is important to note that, there is comprehensive information which in its entirety requires the commitment of a few dedicated staff who must commit to ensure that information requested and deadlines set to achieve certain components of the structure outlined above are met.

“Therefore, confronted with delay that is met within the deadline set by the Ministerial Budget Committee to secure appropriate budget to Ministry of Health before 31 March 2017, and meet the expectation of the Public Services Commission to ensure that the right information is in line with the legal matrix of PSC as far as salary level and job descriptions alignments are concerned,” DG Taleo continued.

“This week the most integral document that the MOH/PSC/DOF have produced is the structure implementation plan which outlines the following phased approach which are in response to the PSC Chairman’s comments: cost of phase 1 positions which are mostly nurses, doctors and contract staffs against the appropriate budget of Vt200 million; implement phase 2 toward remaining staff (permanent and contract staff) who are currently on payroll against MoH savings and 2017 supplementary budget; and new recruitment to key positions which will be instrumental to the phase 3 of the structure.

“It is anticipated that health workers and the public will continue to be informed of the progress of implementation of the structural reform as outlined, through a communication strategy and will not rule out grievances as reported in the DP this week, but the Ministry of Health and government through the Director General’s office will make it priority to ensure that the structural reform is carried out within the legal frame work of the PSC and budget availability through the Ministry of Health savings and supplementary budget respectively,” Taleo said.

“The Ministry of Health will be presenting the structure implementation plan to the Ministry of Finance and finally to the office of the Public Service on Wednesday 29 March and, for final endorsement by the Commission on Friday 31 March 2017.

“The entire Ministry of Health structure will be implemented from 2017 – 2030 and the full cost as the final outcome of the task as conducted by MoH/PSC/DOF is Vt3.9 billion.

“Finally, the implementation of the structure will include all nurses and it is the Ministry of Health’s aim to ensure that retiring nurses receiving PSC three months’ notice are appointed to the new structure in phase 1 of the structure, therefore will receive the right severances package they are entitled to and deserve as health workers, under the Ministry of Health organizational structural reform in 2017.”

Vanuatu Daily Post
Copyright © 2017 Trading Post Limited. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Add new comment