THE patient-specialist numbers at the eye clinic are no longer proportionate, with patients outstripping the number of specialists being produced, a doctor says.
PMGH ophthalmologist Dr Robert Ko said the eye clinic had five doctors and specialist nurses who attend to around 60 patients a day with a variety of eye conditions.
“Ideally we’d like to cut down to 40 to give best time to the patients,” he said.
“Unfortunately the population is increasing and the patients do come here and we cannot send patients away.
“Our numbers keep on increasing and the battle between staff and patients is a chronic problem – it’s an ongoing issue.
“Slowly we are increasing the number of doctors here for eye clinics but for the nursing staff it has been very slow.
“We have very few nurses to carry the load of our surgeries, clinics and everything and that’s why we are sometimes slow.”
Dr Ko said ideally there should be one or two ophthalmologists in each of the main centres with nurses and eye workers but in Papua New Guinea there were only about 14 ophthalmologists of which nine were working.
“The training of our ophthalmologist is also very slow because of a lack of interest but we’ve got some help from non-governmental organisations like the Fred Hollows Foundations, Christian Blind Mission and Lions International that improved our facility,” he said.
“By improving our facility and equipment we have improved our performance and the students are learning in a better facility and are showing interest so we are improving our numbers.”
He said PMGH was a specialised hospital which meant there was equipment and expertise to deal with the different eye conditions.
TheNational / PNG Health News