Head of Pediatric laments over the hospital’s HR policies for overtime


The President of the Samoa Medical Association Ulugia Edward Dr. Kamu is moving for a vote of no confidence in the Ministry of Health’s Head of Human Resources, Melesete Taula-Soonalole over the long-standing issue of unpaid overtime. 

Ulugia’s disappointment with the Ministry of Health’s new human resources policies is contained in an internal email to Minister of Health Valasi Tafito Selesele, head of HR, Ministry of Finance, and Deputy Director General’s Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen and Glen Fatupaito.  

Radio Polynesia reached out to Mrs. Soonalole for comments and stated that she cannot talk to the media unless approved by the Acting DG. 

With regards to your email [..] I want to respond to your email, but am sorry I have no authority to speak to the media unless approved by Acting Director General Tagaloa Robert to do so.

Am copying our DDGs for information and approval otherwise,” said the hospital’s Head of HR. 

Ulugia cited the move not to pay their overtime incurred during that specific pay period is “illegal and unethical”.

The Head of Pediatric also questioned why their overtime continues to be a longstanding predicament, especially for doctors and nurses that have been working long hours over the years, from the measles epidemic to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Adding that the excuse is due to the short staff and also to eliminate HR staff working on weekends, is unacceptable. 

He also criticised the Head of HR, saying that for 20 years only two people worked in HR and they did not experience so many changes, yet under Mrs. Soonalole’s tenure there were a number of “unnecessary changes”. 

The Head of Pediatric said the new Government of the day, will understand the need for the doctors and nurses to get their overtime paid as they are the backbone of the Ministry, without them, the hospital cannot operate, and therefore if HR staff incurs overtime to ensure the nurses and doctors get their OT paid, that is what they need to do. 

“I speak also as an Elected President for the Samoa Medical Association 2022-2023.

“I am not threatening you but I will bring justice for you as a submission in our  A.G.M in August  2022 for a vote of no confidence in this ministry. Whatever it takes,” said Ulugia in his email.