3 Mar 2009

PNG capital's hospital hampered by nurse strike

9:43 pm on 3 March 2009

In Papua New Guinea, the Port Moressby General Hospital faces closure as the nurses' strike enters a seventh day.

The Post Courier reports that the nurses are on strike over unpaid 2006 award and salary reclassification.

Medical director of the Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Simon Mete said that the hospital was now on an urgent employment drive for 88 nurses and community health workers, or CHWs, nd to emergencies.

He said the few doctors and CHWs at the hospital could not cope with the demand.

Dr Mete has described the nurses' strike as illegal, saying some of the new recruits would be considered for employment with the hospital to replace the striking nurses.

Nurses had returned to work at all major hospitals around PNG except Port Moresby general and Wewak Hospital in East Sepik Province.

Meanwhile, National Doctors Association president Dr Kauve Pomat has written a letter to the Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau stating his concern over the stress placed on doctors at all major hospitals as a result of the nurses' strike.

He urged the Health Department to resolve the issue so that the nurses return to work.