THE Leader of Opposition, Matthew Wale describes the sacking of Dr Claude Posala, Head of the Eye Department at NRH by the government as ill-considered and a decision based on bad judgment.
Mr Wale said “Solomon Islands needs all the qualified professionals it has in the country to be harnessed to the fight against covid-19. Unless a health professional has committed an offence so grievous that would negatively impact the effectiveness of the fight against covid-19, he or she should not be removed.
“In this case, it appears Dr Posala has been summarily dismissed for the slightest error in posts he made on Facebook,” the Opposition Leader adds.
Wale stressed that merely posting an internal memo from the PS Health cannot be grievous enough to warrant removal.
“Although the memo was an internal memo, no damage is done in making it public. There is a place for transparency around these kinds of internal directions that is healthy and must be encouraged.”
Posala is the President of the SI Medical Association and should be accorded some understanding to allow him the space to advocate for his members’ interests.
“What benefit is gained by dismissing a frontline health professional? What cost was incurred from the Facebook post?” Wale asks.
“In weighing the benefits in retaining Dr Posala in the healthcare system at this time against the loss from his removal, surely our need to retain him should totally outweigh any wrongs he committed in his Facebook posts.”
Wale said, “I pray that common sense prevails in this case, and all matters given their due proportionate weight.”
Further, Wale added, “Regulation 26 of the Emergency Powers (COVID19) Regulations 2020 is a potential obstacle to the free flow of information from frontline experience to decision makers.
“Frontline professionals should be allowed free speech so we know what issues they are facing and must be addressed. To ban their free speech may result in lives lost, if the virus gets here,” says Wale.
Wale therefore calls on the Prime Minister to immediately reinstate Dr Posala, and to review Regulation 26 to exempt frontline professionals from the media gag.