Allegations of Port Moresby General Hospital running out of Doctors False

Commentary on Port Moresby General Hospital running out of Doctors

A social media post is running wild on doctors alluding that doctors are not attending to mothers coming in to deliver at Port Moresby General Hospital and blaming doctors for unattendance and further alluding that doctors are doing private practice instead of serving the hospital.

Port Moresby General Hospital runs a 24 hours service just like every other public hospital in the country.


Its runs a normal public hours from 7:45am to 4.06pm. Then, the afternoon hours calls from 4.06pm to 7.45am comes in. That is for doctors. Doctors on-call will attended to very sick inpatients and stand by for emergencies. Mothers in Labour is taken as an emergency. For nurses, it does a 8 hours three shifts work.

The real problem Port Moresby General Hospital facing is, it is too small to accommodate the swelling population of Port Moresby, and the hospital is incapacitated by the influx of patients from Central and Gulf Province. It had been repeated and echoed in many forums. Before independence, it was built to serve the city's colonial population of 200,000. After independence and in the 1990s when the Japanese section of the hospital was built, it was designed to serve a population of 400,000. Now, the population of the city has gone beyond 1.3 million, and Port Moresby General Hospital has remained the same. Despite the swelling of private medical setups in the city, they will insignificantly address Port Moresby General Hospital's problem, and why is this so. The answer and the question lies with the population. Port Moresby General Hospital resources are wasted on primary and secondary cases. That is where bulk of the resources are spent. Less of tertiary and research are conducted because of this. Yes, Port Moresby General Hospital has faithfully carried this burden. 

New developments are in the pipeline to address this to make Port Moresby General Hospital the level 6 National Referral, Research, Tertiary and Teaching Hospital for the country. The management and board of Port Moresby General Hospital have drawn the master plan, and they must be congratulated for this. Those interested to know the work behind the scene progress can contact the board and management of Port Moresby General Hospital. 

The Central Province gave away the National Capital District land for the county's Capital City. The Government of PNG should quickly build the hospital for Central Province as a thank you and funding should be sourced out as soon a possible. Gerehu stage 6 hospital for National Capital District was agreed during Prime Minister Peter O'Neil reign, why it has not gone ahead is regretful. 

Ignoring the truth or not knowing the background to what it is, and blaming doctors must be evidence based.

Right now, population growth rate is 2.7-3.0%. What does this means? It means, every year, 270 - 300,000 new borns will be added to the population. At this current rate, doctor to population ratio will be 1:20,000. Five years ago, it was 1:17,000. The ratio will worsen. Planners and hierarchy in government must know this glaring truth and correct it before it worsen. It will be very difficult to plateau the ratio too. 

For elective surgery, waiting time to undergo surgery is widening and very concerning. When empathy is cross-cutted through the hierarchy of decision making, realism will yield the expected result. Right now, empathy to this need is not cross-sectional. 

For doctors, dealing with patients is doctors business. Doctors are leaders in patients care from top down, and bottom up. Every one else bridges the gap in the health system. Doctors are trained to attend to patients. Attending to on-calls is a must. It is implanted and imprinted in them. 

Public health Service doctors seen in private medical facilities. In the public health system, specialist doctors who have served the public health system for five years and more are allowed to do limited rights to private practice exclusively after hours when not on call. Our citizen opting for such service can be reached out. 

Specialist doctors who have not reached the regulation 5 yrs in the public health system, and registrars and resident medical officers are exclusively banned from doing limited rights to private practice. If these category of doctors are seen practicing after hours then it is illegal. Pre-registration committee, medical board and hospitals where these doctors are employed can be reach out to audit their performance with decision made within its respective jurisdiction. 

Thank you.

Dr. James Naipao

National President

National Doctors Association 


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