JEFFREY ELAPA and WALLACE KIALA
SERVICES at the Modilon General Hospital in the Madang province are affected by a strike by staff members that has entered its second day.
Most of the hospital wards are without nursing officers while some departments were closed as the nurses continued to stage their sit-in protest in front of the hospital administration building.
The accident and emergency ward and the blood bank were two important facilities that were forced to close as there were no nurses to attend to patients.
Some of the wards had a skeleton staff of community health workers and doctors who covered for the absent nurses.
A senior medical officer confirmed that the hospital was also facing short of doctors as many of them have left.
The nurses are on strike over outstanding allowances.
The nurses met acting chief executive officer Dr Daniel Hal and provincial health coordinator Markus Katchau over the issue but failed to reach an outcome.
The Madang provincial administration also sent two of their personnel officers to address the nurses’ grievances but the nurses said it was an internal matter for the hospital management to address their demands.
Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea Nurses Association (PNGNA) has called on the Health Department to intervene in their ongoing pay disputes.
PNGNA general-secretary Jack Suao said yesterday the Government must ensure that the nurses were paid their outstanding entitlements next week.
“It’s a sad time if nurses at Modilon did not receive something by tomorrow (today). PNGNA is supporting the protest to go ahead so that nurses must be remunerated next week at the latest if they miss out tomorrow and the protest will have to continue till then,” Mr Suao said.
“I call on health secretary Dr Clement Malau and the Department of Personnel Management and Treasury to look into this (new salary) regarding job classifications implemented recently by management at Modilon,” Mr Suao said.
He said PNGNA was still waiting for a copy of an audit report that was carried out by the Treasury, Health and Personnel Management departments last October on the new reclassification structure for the staff at Modilon.
Mr Suao said the association was still in the dark about the promised update of the reclassification of staff salaries at Modilon.