Port Moresby Hospital To Become ‘Statutory Organization’

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Facility to receive budget independent of Health Department

By Maureen Gerawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 28, 2013) – Port Moresby General Hospital will become a statutory organisation starting next year, which means it will have a budget of its own, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Currently, the budget for the hospital as well as all the other health facilities throughout the country go through the Health Department.

"This is the beginning. Next year, we want Port Moresby General Hospital to become a statutory body, will have its own budget, look after its own affairs, its human resource capacity so we can look after the patients better,’’ Mr O’Neill said.

He announced this while on a visit at the hospital yesterday to see for himself how the upgrading and renovation works were going on.

He was happy with what he saw, the finished product of the first of the 12 wards that had been renovated.

It cost only K1 million to have the ward, once occupied by cancer patients, turned into a new building as compared to K13 million spent on the accidents and emergency department. He also visited the two acute children’s wards and TB ward, the next ward that has been prepared to undergo refurbishment.

PMGH board chairman Sir Theophilus Constantinou said during the visit that it would cost about K1 million to renovate the other wards, which would have similar paint colours and beds.

Sir Theophilus said the buildings were solid and the workmen were just renovating them.

The refurbished wards will be refitted with new beds, with the first lot to arrive from overseas next week.

PMGH nurses will be trained on how these new beds are to be used.

Normally, the government’s allocation of funds for the hospital goes through the Health Department, but this year the Government had given K50 million directly to the hospital for the refurbishment program and the PM was pleased with the outcome so far.

"It shows that with little we can do a lot. We don’t have to look elsewhere,’’ he said.

He said health and education were on the top priority of the Government this year and negotiations were now on to either continue the same amount or increase the budget for these two sectors next year.

"It’s taken 40 years of neglect, we can’t fix it overnight, be patient with us but in five years time we will do something,’’ said the Prime Minister.

"The renovations at the wards as well as in other parts of the hospital has really uplifted the hospital image, it is very obvious."

He said if other hospitals in the country were run well, they would also become statutory organisations like PMGH.

Meanwhile, the hospital chief executive officer Grant Muddle told the Post-courier after the visit that the hospital currently had 300 job vacancies to fill despite a few attempts to recruit.

The Department of Personnel Management had also approved the hospital’s request to start recruiting 50 overseas nurses, 20 of whom will arrive from Fiji next week.

The national Department of Health is also in the process of recruiting a specialist the hospital does not have, and plans are afoot to go overseas for more if the recruitment drive for specialists locally are not met.

When the hospital becomes a statutory organisation, he said it would mean that the hospital can negotiate its own terms and conditions for its individual workers rather than going by the limitations set by the Health Department.

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