29 Mar 2011

PNG talks aimed to end doctors' strike

4:19 pm on 29 March 2011

Health ministry officials in Papua New Guinea say they're meeting doctor representatives this afternoon to try to end the strike which began on Friday.

The doctors say they will extend their strike if their demands are not met today.

Jo O'Brien reports

"PNG's Health Secretary Clement Malau says he is going into arbitration with the National Doctors Association so the country's doctors can get back to work. He says the health ministry has taken the doctors' claims to the Department of Personnel Management, which deals with such issues. Dr Malau says the strike will be having an effect, with overcrowding in urban clinics in Port Moresby. He says the association has not followed proper legal processess, by striking despite the filing of a court order to stop such action. The Solicitor General has now been told to file contempt of court proceedings and the association's executive could face arrest if the issue is not resolved. But the association has reiterated its threat to withdraw emergency and skeletal cover, if its demands are not met by the government this evening. Other unions are threatening to strike in support of the doctors."