The Fijian Government will be issuing an expression of interest (EOI) seeking an internationally certified hospital operator to work with Government.
This is to develop, upgrade, equip and operate the Ba and Lautoka hospitals to raise the quality of their health services to meet full international standards.
Under the terms of the EOI, the private sector hospital operator will provide staff at both hospitals with more modern medical equipment and relevant training, as well as operate and maintain the hospital facilities. The operator will also construct a new hospital wing with new, modern facilities at the Lautoka divisional hospital and massively upgrade the hospital’s existing health facilities.
It is estimated that the upgrades and new investment created by the proposed public-private partnership (PPP) will bring higher quality health services to around 380,000 Fijians.
The International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank Group, provided technical expertise to the Fijian Government to help structure the PPP project. Under the concession project, the Fiji National Provident Fund, together with a private sector hospital operator, will be the majority investors.
The Ministry of Economy has been established as the focal agency for the PPP project.
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the proposed PPP would offer Fijians a range of new medical services, including tertiary care, better maternity care for more Fijian mothers and expanded treatment and procedures for non-communicable diseases, including 24/7 availability for open heart surgeries in Fiji.
Beyond the availability of new treatment options, the A-G also said the proposed PPP project would lead to Government’s launch of a National Health Insurance Scheme in Fiji.
“We’ve made serious progress over the past decade in increasing life expectancy, improving health outcomes for mothers and children and reducing illness from communicable diseases,” said the A-G.
“But there is much more that can be done to tackle our nation’s biggest health challenges, particularly the burden of non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Through this PPP project, both the Lautoka and Ba hospitals will offer a range new specialised treatment options, and those specialised services will be available to every Fijian.”
He also made clear that both hospitals would remain public health facilities under the proposed PPP project and that no existing healthcare staff would lose their jobs. Six to 12 months after the private sector operator comes on board, staff at the Lautoka and Ba hospitals will be offered the choice to sign new employment contracts with the new operator or continue to work for Government in other public health facilities.
“All of our health workers, our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, dietitians and lab technicians, along with all of the allied health workers, have a critical role to play in our agenda for improving the quality of healthcare services in Fiji. And in our consultations with health professionals at the Ba and Lautoka hospitals, we’ve been very glad to see that hospital staff share our excitement about this proposed partnership because it will lead to better training, better equipment, and additional staff in both hospitals,” he said.
“This PPP project will give access to new, improved and better quality medical services to ordinary Fijians and empower our healthcare professionals by granting them access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs well, and we look forward to working with all of our health staff in moving this partnership forward.”