Ordinary Fijians will not have to pay for open heart surgeries at Aspen - AG

Ordinary Fijians will not have to pay for open heart surgeries at Aspen - AG

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 11/05/2022
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has confirmed that ordinary Fijians will not have to pay for the open heart surgeries at the Ba and Lautoka hospitals under Aspen Medical.

Sayed-Khaiyum say currently all the services available at the 2 hospitals are free for the people.

However he says it is only fair that over time they expect people who earn $1 million a year to pay because these people can afford to go overseas for treatment but ordinary Fijians cannot.

The Attorney General also says there is no factual basis on the claims made by NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad about Aspen.

Prasad had said that the involvement of Aspen in the public-private partnership with FNPF can be rightly questioned given its controversial deals in Australia, which was recently exposed in ABC’s 4 Corners program.

Sayed-Khaiyum says if Prasad is questioning the transaction then he is now saying that the International Finance Corporation is not independent because the IFC did the independent analysis.

He says he would love it if Prasad would reveal where Aspen was corrupt in the Fijian transaction.

Aspen Medical had told fijivillage that the International Finance Corporation was engaged to develop and implement the Public-Private Partnership and was tasked to carry out the international tender process.

A spokesperson at Aspen Medical says the model was designed to ensure the successful bidder would partner with FNPF as the major shareholder.

He says their objective is to deliver world class healthcare services to the people of Fiji and they have successfully transitioned into the management of Lautoka and Ba hospitals.

The spokesperson says the opening of the new Ba Hospital in April and the scheduled commissioning of the construction of a new Lautoka Hospital in the second half of this year demonstrates their commitment.

He adds they remain committed to privatizing the management of services and not the services that are delivered.

This means that current services at the Lautoka and Ba hospitals will remain free to the public for services that they did not pay for prior to Aspen Medical commencing services.

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