Parliament has heard the St Johns Ambulance is in dire need of funds to operate, despite the important role it plays in pre-hospital care.
The Member for Abau, Sir Puka Temu, told the House during Question Time yesterday that St Johns Ambulance missed out on the 2022 budget allocation.
He says this is despite performing extremely well during the APEC leaders summit in 2018 and currently, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by attending to patients as well as other patients needing urgent medical attention.
Sir Puka says the St John Ambulance came to PNG 65 years ago and was established by a statute, and had an agreement with the Health Department for funding support through the annual budget grant.
''The last two quarters of 2021, worth about K2.75 million has not been received yet by the St Johns Ambulance so today, Mr. Deputy Speaker, they have no money for fuel for Ambulance, this fortnight the 120 staff of the St Johns Ambulance will not be getting their pay, this is a very very serious issue.
''I believe that the standard of what we call Pre-Hospital care is very, very important in health care. Pre Hospital care is called Ambulance care which St Johns Ambulance is currently doing, and it has saved many lives.
''Pre-Hospital care is carried out by very skilled and accredited staff during the emergency situations on sites and transportations to the nearest hospital and St Johns Ambulance has been doing it for many years in PNG,'' said Sir Puka Temu.
Health Minister, Jelta Wong, says this is the second time St John Ambulance has missed on the funding from the government and attributed this to the need for acquittals to be submitted.
Mr. Wong says the Government committed K1 million last year to St John Ambulance, but the government process of acquittals must be followed.
He says there is a special intervention program for St John Ambulance and Health Department and that is currently being relooked to correct some of the things.
''But we have a process within our government system where they have to follow the acquittal process,'' said Minister Wong.
Meanwhile, St John Ambulance says it needs government funding and support to continue to respond to emergencies and ensure lives are saved.
On its Facebook page, St John Ambulance says its highly trained staff in the nation's capital, Central, Morobe, East New Britain and Chimbu provinces respond to violence, people injured in accidents, and others having heart attacks.
It says St John Ambulance operates a service of 30 ambulances supporting around 3 million people, and responding to over 14,000 emergencies each year.
St John Ambulance says it relies heavily on the Government to operate and needs funding support.
NBC News/PNG Health Watch
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