17 Oct 2012

Opportunities in PNG contribute to doctor shortage in Solomons

5:14 pm on 17 October 2012

The Ministry of Health in Solomon Islands is looking at ways to lure locals, who complete their medical studies in Papua New Guinea, back to the country to address a doctor shortage.

The ministry's permanent secretary Dr Lester Ross says there are about 16 vacancies around the country which need to be filled.

He says most locals undergo their medical studies overseas and more than half of the doctors who graduate in Papua New Guinea remain there to work.

He says graduates are attracted to the better conditions offered by the private sector.

"Papua New Guinea as you know there's a booming economy at the moment and there's a big pull there. The students have stayed there for about seven years as part of their residential programme and because of the pull from the private sector they stay on there instead of coming back home."

Dr Lester Ross says the ministry will look at the conditions of doctors in Solomon Islands and consider a bonding scheme which would require graduates to return as soon as they complete their studies overseas.