Vunapope to run specialist

Islands, Normal

The National

THE East New Britain provincial government and St Mary’s Vunapope Hospital are discussing the possibility of the hospital running selected specialist services relocated from Nonga Hospital.
The proposal was for the Nonga Base Hospital to transfer specific services to Vunapope while general services remained at Nonga until a new hospital was built.
A draft agreement has been prepared but it is understood that Vunapope has put forward several conditions before signing, and they included calling for a uniform salary structure for government and church health staff.
Chairman of the archdiocesan health board Fr Francis Meli said Vunapope hospital was open to negotiations.
The hospital has been getting an annual grant of K130,000 from the provincial government, including more than K5 million from the supplementary budget that had been used to upgrade the surgical ward, obstetrics and gynecology wing, bathrooms and equipment.
Deputy provincial administrator Bernard Lukara said the MoA would pave the way for specialist services such as pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics and gynecology to be run at Vunapope hospital and redeployment of medical staff from Nonga Hospital to work at Vunapope.
He added that a stand-off between the two parties did not help the situation, considering that the Health Department needed to maintain specialist services.
Nonga Hospital was downgraded in June last year after disruptions caused by volcanic dust and deteriorating facilities and equipment.
A task force has been formed to plan for its relocation.