2023-2024 National Budget | Fong positive nurses will be considered

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong. Picture: FT FILE/ELIKI NUKUTABU

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong is positive the welfare of nurses will be considered in the 2023-2024 National Budget.

He said that he “absolutely share the same sentiments” as Fiji Nursing Association general secretary Filomena Talawadua, who said that the exodus of nurses would continue unless Government gave them better pay.

“They’re going for a pay rise, the nurses that are leaving our country are going for better working environment, better pay so unless the Government can do something to address this, the nurses will continue to leave,” Ms Talawadua said.

“If it were up to me, I would just say ‘please give them what they want, give them what they’re entitled to keep them here’.”

Dr Fong said that while he agreed with the sentiments of FNA, a process would still need to be followed.

“We are meeting with the Ministry of Civil Service in ensuring that we can discuss this a bit more.

“We have been fairly thoughtful and we need to be bit more thoughtful in terms of just jumping up pay.”

He said negotiations would also had to be mindful of a log of claims submitted by the trade unions.

“So, we have to be careful that whatever we do we maintain the aspirations of all parties concerned.

“But definitely I’m quite confident that we will sort something out for the nurses in the coming budget.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad is conducting Budget Consultations around the country.

He will be in the North Division this weekend.

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