MEMBERS of the 11th Parliament raised issues of health insurance at Monday’s induction to welcome new members in view of recent deaths of 10 MPs.
Nipa-Kutubu MP Billy Joseph, a medical doctor, recommended the presence of a private doctor to attend to any medical needs.
Deputy clerk Basil Kambuliagen said there was a clinic onsite that would be refurbished with the help of development partners.
Clerk to Parliament Kala Aufa told The National that with the help of development partners and the National Department of Health, they had plans to create an outdoor clinic with doctors on site but that it all came down to approval.
Although the small clinic at parliament is used daily by MPs and parliament staff, its services are described as not up to par with it costing K1,800 just to do a full blood test.
“Right now you can get your blood pressure checked and we have a nurse trained in first-aid as well as an ambulance on standby so if anything, the ambulance will take them to hospital,” Aufa said.
“We have two doctors who consult with us but it costs a lot to do a full check-up. The policy for so long was for the members to take care of the cost themselves so now with the recent deaths, it has become a re-visited topic to get health insurance again,” he said.
He stressed that appropriate resources and funding would be needed in order to be able to conduct daily check-ups for MPs as doctors were brought in regularly if they were needed. But the issue seems to be that MPs have their preferred choice when seeking treatment.
Sitting MPs have health insurance cover of K6,000 per annum taken out from their salaries but this does not cover life insurance, only medical check-ups.
There are contracts sitting with the Procurement Commission to decide a health insurer.
Pomio open MP Elias Kapavore began the line of questioning when he asked parliamentary staff, (who were introducing their services to new members), who the new insurers were and if there was any way possible to increase the coverage amount.
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