HOSPITALS can recruit overseas doctors to fill vacancies, health secretary Pascoe Kase said yesterday.
He said in response to the question of shortage of doctors in PNG that the government gave the green light last year for hospitals to recruit both internally and from abroad.
"The Government has approved the Health Department’s enhancement plan, authorising all the hospitals, the provincial health service and provincial health authorities to go ahead and recruit against the positions vacant,’’ he said.
"Port Moresby General Hospital has done that with 50 nurses it recruited from the Philippines last year.’’
Mr Kase said that the hospital boards and management were now autonomous which meant that the hospitals could go ahead and make important decisions such as the number of staff they wished to recruit, unlike the past where the Health Department and Personnel Management Department set staff ceiling.
He said while Port Moresby General Hospital had the financial capacity to recruit whilst other hospitals might not have so they would have to coordinate with these two departments in their recruitment drive.
"But the hospitals have to show that direction,’’ he said yesterday, agreeing that there were not enough doctors in the country "so we have to look abroad’’.
Kase said that the Health Department was currently advertising specialist positions and was getting good response from countries like Sri Lanka and India.
He said the government through the Health Department would soon be signing understanding with the Philippines on its recruitment of health workers, particularly nurses.
He also commented that the PNG Medical Board and Medical Society of PNG needed to be open about this issue on the shortage of doctors and look at other options such as recruiting Cuban doctors as suggested by a former health minister Sir Peter Barter.