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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 30) – Ailing former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir William Skate will be flown by medivac to Australia today for treatment following indications PNG doctors could be joining striking nurses.

The regional Member of Parliament was rushed to the Port Moresby General Hospital on Tuesday night after suffering high blood pressure. General Hospital doctors were able to stabilize Sir William’s condition but there are indications doctors at the country’s largest public hospital could follow their nursing colleagues due to their inability to cope with the increasing workload.

The threat, which could be a double blow to patients currently admitted at the hospital, has compelled Sir William’s family to arrange for him to be moved to Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital.

A close aide of Sir William, former journalist Susuve Laumaea, told the Post-Courier yesterday that it was a precautionary move as there was a high chance no hospital staff could be at work today (Friday). He said the family had a lot of faith in the capability of local doctors to care for Sir William but circumstances were such that there was no guarantee the hospital would continue normal operations in light of the nurses’ ongoing strike as well as the reported move by the hospital’s doctors.

Mr. Laumaea said the family’s plan to fly Sir William out yesterday had been deferred to today as the Member of Parliament’s wife, daughter and a staff member still need to sort out their visas.

Sir William, who has a documented case of heart ailments, was admitted at the Port Moresby General Hospital in August for a similar ailment.

December 30, 2005

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