The National, Wednesday June 26th, 2013
By ELLEN TIAMU
ACTIONS by protesting nurses at the Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae to lock the gates and disallow new admissions have been criticised by city residents.
A woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the scaling down of operations and staff at the hospital was understandable because their calls for housing had not been heeded.
However, it was deplorable for nursing staff to deny cases that were a matter of life or death, she said.
The woman said she had to take her sick child to a private doctor on Monday after attempts to seek treatment for malaria at Angau were unsuccessful.
“They (nursing staff) directed security at the gate not to allow fresh cases in and have even stopped hospital vehicles from moving about,” she said.
She was able to take her child to a private clinic but felt for the majority of patients who come from villages and could not afford to do the same.
“Where is their code of ethics? Are they here to save lives or let people suffer or die?” she said.
“Their issue over housing is no longer a Lae issue but is now a national issue and the management in Lae has done what it could.
“I’d suggest that if nursing staff can’t find housing in or around Lae they should return to their province of origin to find work there because they know that housing was never a part of the employment package when they joined the department in the first place.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Michael Malabag has called for all staff at Angau to resume full operation of hospital services.
In a statement yesterday, Malabag said the petition regarding staff welfare and issues surrounding areas of governance and management were being looked into.
“I have secured funds for the construction of staff accommodation,” Malabag said.
“Further, I have instructed the hospital board to identify the land and pursue the normal processes of securing and develop staff accommodation facility.”
He said issues of staff accommodation and transportation would be addressed with the availability of the funds.
“The decision of the union in scaling down operations is uncalled for and may be deemed illegal as the action is not registered with the Industrial Registrar,” he said.