Doctors call off strike after dialogue with govt

Dr Alex Cato Dr Kathryn Rzetelski West and two local doctors performing surgery at the National Referral Hospital. Photo: Australian High Commission

A strike of the country’s doctors that was deferred until today has been called off.

The Solomon Star reported the decision by the Solomon Islands Medical Association to call off the strike was a result of dialogue between the association and Government ministries.

SIMA has been in discussions with the Ministry of Public Service, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the Ministry of Finance over the past few weeks about revising the scheme of service for doctors in the country.

The strike was initially planned to begin on December 22, but after discussions between SIMA and the Ministry of Public Service last week, the strike was deferred until December 29.

SIMA President Dr Claude Posala said the continued dialogue led the parties to a resolution.

“The current SIMA executive wishes to acknowledge members for their support and patience all through this year in regards to the process of revising the current scheme of service,” Dr Posala said.

The strike was planned as a protest against what SIMA considered the Government’s failure to revise a decade-old scheme of service for doctors. The association rejected two previous proposals for new service schemes before making the decision to strike.

Retaining local specialists who have returned to the country after completing their training was one of the association’s key concerns.

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