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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Threats of strikes by Doctors if PM does not step down

PNG Secretary for Health' Pascoe Kase is disappointed with threats issued by National Doctors Association and some health sector unions to shutdown Health services in the country if Prime Minister Peter O'Neill does not step down.

"I am informed that there is an intention on the part of both the National Doctors Association and some health sector unions to encourage their members to abandon their posts in a strike action to force the Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neil M.P. to step down from his post pending the outcome of some outstanding administrative and legal processes" said Kase.

"This does not include the PNG Nurses Association whose executive and members we commend on their professionalism and maturity'.

"I am very disappointed that our Medical Officers and health workers to seek to threaten industrial action with very foreseeable life threatening consequences to make a political point".

"A strike by Medical Officers and other health workers in such a manner and for such a reason is entirely inconsistent with the solemn ethical and legal commitments of the Associations and of their health profession members to preserve life and to ensure that their services are not hindered or interrupted by industrial action".

"The effects will fall most heavily on the patients currently at our health facilities across PNG and the families that care for them.  Seeking medical treatment can be a stressful time for patients and their families".  

"The immediately foreseeable risks of medical officers and other health workers abandoning their posts include adding to peoples suffering through possible clinical complications and even preventable death".

"Those proposing the current strike action might also give some thought to the consequences for those following their leadership and supporting such a position.  The consequences may be significant.
The Laws and Industrial Awards governing the management of industrial disputes by Doctors and other health workers are quite clear".

"Secretary Kali has a duty to ensure that during an industrial dispute, officers are directed to return to normal working and to cease any industrial action which is in breach of the Act.
He will do so promptly in the event of a strike".

"Should an officer fail to comply shall, he or she may be subject to disciplinary action.
The current Doctors Award, which is similar to other health sector awards, specifically recognizes that, due to the life preserving role of Medical officers, every effort is made to ensure their services to the community are not interrupted by industrial action".

The Award contains a grievance procedure which the NDA has agreed to follow in the event of a grievance.  No effort has been made by the NDA and other health sector unions to utilize such procedures to avert a strike and all the unnecessary suffering it may cause.

"Officers who aid, abet or take part in a strike which interferes with the provision of health services from public health facilities are likely to be in breach of relevant laws and the penalty for such a breach is summary dismissal".

Our Constitution is robust and clear.  Under its rules, the Parliament, guided by the Supreme Court, is currently addressing political issues.  The National Doctors Association and other health unions have no role in politics.

We urge Doctors and health workers to remain steadfast at their posts, not so much out of concern for their own jobs, but out of a real commitment to the vulnerable men, women and children seeking medical help and who have no part in national political disputes but have every right to the best medical treatment and care our Doctors and health workers can provide.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 6:38 PM. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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