By HELEN TARAWA
POPONDETTA hospital staff staged a protest march on Friday to express their frustration over ongoing attacks on staff.
Provincial police commander Supt Michael Welly told The National that staff had organised the protest following a recent incident in which a doctor was held up in his house and all his personal effects stolen. They included work equipment.
Welly said Northern Health Authority acting chief executive Copland Ihove had written to police seeking approval for the march which started from bottom town and ended at top town.
“The CEO wrote seeking approval from me to stage a protest march due to constant arms holdup of their staff,” he said.
“The latest being a doctor that was held up in his house at about 1pm.” and 2pm and all his personal effects were stolen.”
Welly said police had arrested the suspects and most of the items were recovered.
“The community must respect the hospital staff given the work that they do to save lives,” he said.
Acting provincial administrator Trevor Magei confirmed that it was a protest march and a copy of the petition was handed to Welly.
Magei said hospital staff in their petition had expressed disappointment at the lack of response from police to address law and order in the province, and particularly the hospital.
He said there was a hike in criminal activities in the province, particularly targeting hospital staff.
Magei, who is also chairman of the provincial law and order committee, said he would call a meeting this week to address some of the issues that were highlighted in the petition.
“We will look at short-term solutions, especially the hospital and the staff who have been targeted while we will also look at longer term solutions.
“The police have also been handicapped with logistical issues which was one of the reasons that they haven’t been able to attend to the crime cases.”
By HELEN TARAWA