PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the Government is bypassing “bureaucracy” to directly fund hospitals so that patients receive the best care and service.
He said boards of major hospitals around the country were being “properly appointed” with the “right mix of business experience and technical health care knowledge” to see that the hospitals were being properly run and managed.
Yesterday, he attended the swearing-in of a new board at the Kerema General Hospital, and the opening of the new hospital mess.
“I know that even when Government had allocated money (through the Health Department) in the past, it does not always get through,” he said.
“So when I was Treasurer in 2010, we started to provide money directly to hospitals. We bypassed the (health) department so that hospitals received this money directly, because the hospitals know where it is needed, and you are held to account by your people.”
He said he was on the board of the Goroka Hospital “many years ago, so I am very familiar with the challenges faced by hospital boards”.
“All I say to the hospital boards is to get on with running your hospital and leave the politics to politicians,” he said.
“The healthcare sector in our country is one of the foremost areas in which our Government has placed great importance.”
O’Neill said the Kerema Hospital was a good example of “direct funding, delivering strong outcomes that other hospitals can learn from”.
“We are seeing positive results at Kerema Hospital today with better equipped wards, a rebuilding programme going on and medicines reaching the sick,” he said.
“I saw the state of the health infrastructure here when I visited soon after the elections. What we see now is so much better.”
O’Neill visited the Tuberculosis ward and thanked overseas medical staff from the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) organisation working at the hospital.
“Health care cannot all be delivered by the Government acting alone. We need to work with our partners from businesses and NGOs,” he said.
“Doctors Without Borders is doing an outstanding job in helping our medical staff in the fight against TB and I thank them for our partnership.”