27 Jan 2017

Concern over loss of only doctor on Mangaia in Cook Islands

6:52 am on 27 January 2017

The people of an isolated Cook Islands community are worried by the loss of their only doctor.

But the Health Ministry said there are systems in place to support the nurses providing care on the island of Mangaia.

The Mayor of Mangaia Tere Atariki saod everyone on the island was concerned their resident doctor had left.

He said the population of about 460 was made up of mainly old and young people who need health care.

Red Cross Officer Leanne Taokaia agrees there was a need for a doctor to care for the elderly and disabled.

She said the island's nurses can not do all the doctor's work, and it was a 40-minute flight to reach a doctor in Rarotonga.

But Health Secretary Elizabeth Iro said while most of the outer islands do not have doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners are supported by specialists in Rarotonga via technology such as Skype.

She said doctors also visit the outer islands for screening and case reviews.