11 Jun 2004

PNG hospital turns patients away in staff pay protest

10:16 am on 11 June 2004

Several patients seeking medical attention have been turned away from Port Moresby General Hospital because it lacked the manpower to carry out some operations.

The National newspaper reports that on Monday, more than 50 residential medical officers walked off their jobs because of non-payment of salaries.

The medical officers include pharmacists, laboratory technicians, dentists, radiographers and health extension officers.

The hospital's surgical registrar Dr Siwi Wawe says they had to send home, some patients who'd already been booked for surgery.

He says most registrars needed Registered Medical Officers, to do the groundwork for all major surgery.

A registrar or senior doctor requires the patient to undergo consultation, admissions and check-ups before they can perform any surgical operation.

A medical officer from Alotau General Hospital says patients are being turned away after three RMOs, and three residential health extension officers there, have also supported their colleagues by walking off their jobs.

He says their network has confirmed the RMOs and Registered Health Extension Officers from Hagen, Goroka, Rabaul and Lae, all walked off their jobs on Monday.