I REFER to the debate over the chief executive officer of Port Moresby General Hospital.
As an independent observer, I have noted the following over the years.
1. My first view is that any government who makes appointments must be able to provide “100% funding” for the CEO to discharge his/her duties to the fullest in the running of this hospital. The best of CEO in the world cannot be expected to perform without proper funding from the Government.
2. Any POMGH CEO must have extensive experience and background in public health management, including sound knowledge in primary, secondary and tertiary health services. POMGH fits into the secondary health services but also oversees the tertiary health component as well. As such, it has an intricate role in overseeing allied and non-allied health workers as well as professionals ranging from health extension officers, nurses, doctors, academics, research scientists, etc. A CEO without a sound understanding of the medical fraternity would quickly find himself/herself in quicksand.
3. The CEO must be proactive in providing “advisory roles” to the hospital board and its chairman. As such, the CEO must be knowledgeable in primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems. This is an absolute pre-requisite.
4. The CEO must be able to understand the term “strategic fit”, which in the medical fraternity, describes the strategic directions of the organisation which must fit within the organisation’s vision, mission, values and goals. This will reflect in the CEO’s previous job experiences and achievements.
5. The CEO must be familiar with the term “alignment with external directives” which is primarily the ability to identify existing Government mandates and legislated obligations as relevant considerations for setting priorities for the hospital’s particular requirements.
6. The CEO must be familiar with “academic commitments” as POMGH plays a crucial role in facilitating the training of doctors out of medical school in the country. I cannot emphasise enough about the role of clinical programmes in educating future health care professionals and in facilitating the integration of these activities with health service delivery. It would be criminal if a CEO is unable to comprehend this role.
7. The CEO must be able to have an in-depth understanding of “clinical impact” in terms of service volumes necessary to ensure the clinical competence of medical staff to provide safe and effective care to patients. This must be among the priorities of the CEO.
8. The CEO must have some ideas and be able to respond to “community need” in the immediate geographic area of responsibility and beyond. This includes the current demand for health services, which could be measured on the basis of utilisation rates and waiting list data, as well as future demand based on population data and trends. The CEO must be able to recognise the availability of other health service providers to have a plan in place to integrate such services for better delivery of health care to its population.
9. The CEO must be impartial and attempts to establish “partnerships” with existing health care providers such as GPs, mission health services, etc, in coordinating delivery of health care to the community. This will enhance service quality, optimise resource utilisation and ensure a continuity of care for patients within the community and beyond.
10. Finally, the CEO must fully appreciate and be transparent when it comes to “resource implications”. This refers to the mobilisation and use of human and fiscal resources. Strategic planning, operations, training, equipment, pharmacy, awarding of union agreements, etc, must reflect the resource at hand.
The above are some of the many qualities the CEO must have.
Dr Kristoffa Ninkama
Mt Wikauma, Simbu