28 Mar 2011

Striking PNG doctors meet with government but say strike could escalate

4:46 pm on 28 March 2011

The Papua New Guinea Doctors' Association hopes a meeting with the deputy prime minister this afternoon will resolve the differences that led them to go out on strike.

It's president Dr Kauve Pomat says association members have been on strike since Friday, after 98 percent of its 478 members voted to take industrial action.

Dr Pomat says they are expecting to meet with government officials soon to discuss their demands for a new agreement to lift doctors salary gradings and pay them other allowances.

He says if the issue is not resolved today, the strike will escalate.

"With our strike we've allowed for emergency cover and a skeletal staff to cover for the very sick and for any emergencies that could be coming up at the hospital. But by the end of the day, nothing happens we will have an all out withdrawal of all our members from working, an all out strike, there would be no emergency cover."

Dr Pomat says most of the doctors who are not association members, are new graduates who do not work without supervision.