15 Dec 2017

PNG doctors to withdraw services over demands to govt

6:29 am on 15 December 2017

Papua New Guinea's Doctors' Association is threatening to withdraw its services nationwide from this afternoon.

The Association's General Secretary Sam Yockopua said the government is running out of time to address seven issues that he and his colleagues have raised.

Angau Hospital, Lae, Papua New Guinea

Angau Hospital, Lae, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI

The issues relate to outstanding contractual matters or payments and allowances owed to doctors.

Dr Yockapua said one of these was unpaid rent allowances for doctors' accommodation.

He said some doctors have been evicted because they haven't been paid for up to six months.

"Doctors must be comfortable in their homes with their families before they can have to work and loo after sick people," he said.

"They've got to be completely insane to think otherwise. So we're asking the government and we've given the deadline; they come as one package; failure to do so will result in withdrawal of services as of 4 o'clock, close of business."

Dr Yockopua said another issue is the lack of contracts for doctors. According to him, many doctors had been working without contracts for many months, while the government had freezed employment of new doctors.

"But we have got an increased number of sick people and we've got doctors who are looking for jobs in the country, and the government is trying to employ Cuban doctors, Indian doctors and recently doctors from Israel, making a mockery out of our system," he said.

Dr Yockopua said patients in critical condition would not be left unattended, but that all other routine services by doctors would be put on hold until the issues were rectified.

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