THE 40 doctors who contested General Election 2022 will be allowed to work on a contract basis with provincial hospitals, according to Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Dr Lino Tom.
“The Government has put mitigation measures in place, and one of them is for each Provincial Health Authority (PHA) to give out contracts (to) engage these doctors, (so that they do not come) through the public service (structure),” Tom said.
The doctors and other public servants who contested general election seats are not allowed to re-enter the civil service for five years.
Dr Tom told the Provincial Health Authority (PHA) chairman and chief executive officer annual forum in Port Moresby yesterday that 80 per cent of these doctors were “specialists”.
And it takes around 15 years to train a specialist doctor in the country.
“PHAs need these doctors but they cannot be taken into public systems because of the existing law that does not allow them to be re-employed for a period of five years,” he said.
“The Government made that law on the best of intentions but unfortunately it has affected the health sector which is facing a workforce crisis.”
Dr Tom stressed that organisations such as the National Doctors Association could ask the court to repeal the General Order of banning them from the public service for five years.
He personally believes that the law is unconstitutional.
“You can’t deprive any citizen of his rights to contest the general election,” he said.
During the forum last year, a request was made to the Government to immediately bring back all the doctors who unsuccessfully contested seats. But the Department of Personnel Management rejected the request.
Hela PHA chief executive officer Dr James Kintwa told the forum that he had already taken on board two of the doctors because the province badly needed specialist doctors.
The parliamentary committee on health matters had also recommended that Parliament “review and revise the Public Service Management Act Section 55 to allow doctors, health workers and essential workers to re-enter the public service after contesting general elections”.
There were 40 doctors who contested the 2022 General Election.
Last year, Dr Tom raised concerns about the shortage of doctors and hoped that the 40 doctors would be re-employed in the public service immediately.
But Public Service Minister Joseph Sungi last year said public servants who contested the GE22 would not be re-employed at least for the next five years.
TheNational / PNG Health News
PNG Health News
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