PMGH improving services and working with NCD Health Centres to deliver more effective healthcare

Over the past 2 weeks, Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) has had an extremely busy period in Accident and Emergency, in the maternity ward, the surgical wards and also in the much-loved children’s ward.

While there was lots of positive news over this period, with the hospital having record levels of new babies born, there have also been concerns raised over why are there so many people waiting in the corridors to see a doctor at PMGH.

The answer is very simple…PMGH is not a primary care healthcare facility.

PMGH is the largest Hospital in Papua New Guinea and the demands placed on is infrastructure; the staff and the resources available to it are extreme.

Over the past 12 months PMGH has undergone numerous changes including the development of new wards, improved systems, streamlining processes to allow the hospital to cater to more patients, new equipment and the list goes on.

These changes have all occurred in a very short time frame thanks to the drive of the Board of Management and CEO Mr. Grant R. Muddle.

PMGH Hospital is a major part of the health system in PNG. The role of the hospital has always been set as a referral hospital, and not as primary care. Primary Care has always been the purview of the NCD Urban Health clinics. Put basically, PMGH is here to provide specialist treatments to patients that have been referred to the hospital.

The CEO, Mr. Muddle provided this comment, “Since I started my new position as CEO of the Hospital, I have had a few key priorities. These included 1. Improving the Facilities of the Hospital, 2. Improve Staff processes and number of staff, 3. Improving the Hospitals Primary Equipment, 4. Improving patient care and treatments, 5. Improving our working relationship with NCD Urban Health Facilities and UPNG Medical School, 6. Provide Port Moresby and PNG with a leading hospital that is of global standard for treatment and care. PMGH, since I arrived as CEO, has been working outside many of the guidelines set by the Department of Health to try and support the Port Moresby Community and in many cases PNG overall. These added services that the hospital has been trying to carry, has placed untold stress on staff, reduced our ability to function correctly as a referral hospital, has used up our budgets that were required to maintain our primary equipment to care for patients and the list goes on. We are working with the National Department of Health and very closely with Hon. Michael Malabag, Minister for Health & HIV/Aids to ensure we get the right processes in place for the community. This includes ensuring the community use

the NCD Urban health clinics for primary care. Primary care is all about seeing a doctor for minor health issues covering things like the flu, your child’s health and immunisation, coughs, colds, questions on health, blood tests and the list goes on. If the NCD Urban Health Clinic Doctors then need to refer the patient to PMGH, we will then act to further support, diagnose and treat these patients. We will be working over the next few weeks to educate the community on where their local NCD Urban Health Clinics are. Its not a case of PMGH turning away patients, but it is more about getting the right process in place to ensure everyone is getting the best care possible. We have launched our website and we have launched our social media site (via Facebook) and I will ensure these are updated with the correct information for people to follow. PMGH will work directly with NCD Urban Health Clinics to ensure the required services are being provided and that we continue to work closely to provide fast and effective healthcare. I understand the issues facing people each day with regards to health, and we are doing everything to improve patient care as fast as we can”

PMGH CEO, is not just talking but really delivering on his promises to Port Moresby to improve the level of healthcare.

CEO Mr. Muddle continued his comments, “to give you an idea of what we are doing to improve our services and effectiveness as a hospital we have recently added 24 new registered nurses, a further 38 arrive from the Philippines on Thursday 15th May, we have added 50 new cleaning and catering staff, we have purchased a new CT machine to better diagnose patients, planning for an MRI, we are expanding and improving our services in Radiology, Pediatrics and Intensive Care. Plans are afoot for a new Women and Children’s wing. We really are committed to patient care. We understand there might be some frustrations and people having to get used to these changes, but it is in the best interest of everyone in improving our patient care.”

So if you have an illness and you feel you need to see a doctor, enquire to where the nearest NCD Urban Clinic is located and visit them first prior to coming to PMGH. If you have a genuine emergency, do not delay in calling the St Johns Ambulance Service or make your way immediately to the Accident and Emergency at PMGH for immediate assessment and treatment.

How can malaria be prevented?

Spray your clothing and skin: Apply an insect repellant to your skin, clothing, and other fabrics, such as blankets.

Cover your skin: Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to keep your skin covered.

Sleep under a mosquito net: Spray insect repellant on your mosquito net. Check your net for holes often.

Protect your home: Put screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Use insecticide inside your home to kill mosquitoes that come into your house. Remove all standing water around your home: Mosquitoes lay their eggs and mature in water.

When should I contact my Doctor?
Contact your Doctor if: Your signs and symptoms get worse or do not go away, even after treatment. Your signs and symptoms return after treatment. You have questions or concerns about your condition or care. When should I seek immediate care?

Hospital Beds

Malaria threatens 90 percent of PNG

Ninety percent of Papua New Guinea’s seven million people are at risk of malaria infection.

Minster for Health and HIV AIDS revealed this frightening news, saying malaria is the leading cause for hospital admissions in PNG.

“The figures are even higher than what is on record, and the burden falls on rural majority and urban poor,” said Mr Malabag. Mr Malabag was speaking at a recent world malaria day celebration. He said everyday malaria affects all people, including the country’s economic productivity.

It also causes premature deaths. He said getting rid of malaria has been a challenge but we have achieved some goals through partnership.

The malaria control program supported by Global Fund against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria through round three grants and round eight grants from 2009-2013 has helped PNG gain some of the milestones.

A recent study by the PNG Institute of Medical Research has found that approximately 65 percent of households surveyed owned a long lasting insecticide net and a little more than 90 percent of health centres studied were having the first line anti-malarial drugs in stock.

The Institute of Medical Research found that only 40 percent of children younger than age five and only 44 percent of pregnant women were sleeping under nets at night.

Children under five years old and pregnant women are most vulnerable.

Mr Malabag said it takes a government that remains engaged in the fight to control malaria, a government from the central level through to the provinces, districts and LLG wards, to combat malaria.

New CT scanner to improve health in PNG

Port Moresby General Hospital has a new CT scanner which has been installed and is already being used, says the hospital’s chief executive officer Mr Grant Muddle.

Mr Muddle said at the weekend that while the new one is being used the old one is being repaired.

For some weeks the hospital did not have a CT Scan because its aging one had broken down and the biomedical engineers were working on it. All PMGH patients were therefore being referred to the Pacific International Hospital for CT Scans.

Complaints had come from public patients who found the cost of a CT Scan at PIH expensive. PIH has since then decided to offer a 40 per cent discount to patients referred from the Port Moresby General Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

“The new CT machine is here and installed. The old machine is still being repaired,’’ said Mr Muddle. Mr Muddle said the hospital’s x-ray was working but it was heavily utilised, and two more units were being procured via a tender process that was nearly finalised.

X-ray staff had also commented that the number of patients coming for x-ray had increased dramatically since the announcement of the Government’s free primary health care and specialised health care policies.

“Most scans are free, per the free health policy, however there are some costs depending on the type of scan that you are having done. For example a cardio angiogram is charged the prescribed fee per the Government of PNG Free and Subsidised Healthcare Policy,’’ said Mr Muddle.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s recruitment program is underway. The hospital has recruited 24 new PNG graduate nurses and is awaiting flight and arrival details for the first portion of the 50 Philippine nurses.

They are due to arrive anytime. PMGH, the country’s largest national referral and training hospital, had for years had insufficient staff and this will be good news for both the patients and staff.

The nursing staff have already new uniforms and the wards are all looking new after refurbishment and refitting of new cupboards and beds.

More Staff

Improvements at our hospital are not limited to brighter wards and more washing machines. Management has been busy in recruiting new staff to join our team of medical and non-medical staff. There are 24 new registered nurses from the pacific adventist university which is located a short drive from the capital city. There are also 50 new cleaning and catering staff beginning work at the Port Moresby General Hospital. These include chefs and caterers. On the medical side of operations, there are new medical interns being brought onto the staffing list.

Hospital Management is preparing a barbecue lunch to welcome the new staff members in February.

Doctors Accommodation

There has been a positive step on easing the staff accommodation problem on the hospital grounds. Work has been done to an eight bed doctors house and it is now refurbished and ready for selected staff to move in. Ongoing facility works are being planned and scoped, pending budgetary constraints but improving facilities for our staff is important to us says Hospital CEO Grant Muddle.

Nurse Station

Cleaner Hospital

The hospital is getting a major boost to cleaning bed linen and the like. The laundry has had a new, 50kg washing machine and extractor installed and there is to be a second one established within the next fortnight. Hospital chief executive officer Grant Muddle said this week that added to the new machine was the purchase and installation of two new 50kg dryers. Both new washing machines have been hooked up to the ecolab chemicals and automatic wash programs for better cleaning and infection control.
The improvements will help greatly with the important tasks of cleaning linen and other items, with such a function being vital to the ongoing operations of such a big hospital and the attendant problems of keeping bed linen hygienic and clean.

Administration Relocated

Our hospital administration staff have made the move, from their old domain near ward 8 on the top floor, to their new home. They are now working out of what used to be the long vacant nurses quarters.
Hospitals CEO Grant Muddle has said previously that the move is for the good and as it will place the admin staff closer to the middle of hospital activities. The old office space has been earmarked for increased clinical bed capacity, a function much in need at our country’s largest hospital. Discussions and planning on the proposed uses for the office space will take place in the coming months.

POM GEN Ward Moves

Its been an action time around our hospital premises in recent weeks, with plenty of improvements being made. What was once oncology centre has been converted into the new paediatrics ward known as Ward 2E.
The existing Ward 2E has undergone refurbishment works and ward 12 (the TB ward) will be move into the 2E space.

Ward 12 will be fumigated and some work will be done to secure the area that is worked on. Then, Ward 6 (psychiatric) will move into ward 12 in the next few weeks. Ward 6 and 2E will become the new wards for TB patients.

Port Moresby Hospital To Become ‘Statutory Organization’

Port Moresby Hospital To Become ‘Statutory Organization’
Facility to receive budget independent of Health Department

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 28, 2013) – Port Moresby General Hospital will become a statutory organisation starting next year, which means it will have a budget of its own, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Currently, the budget for the hospital as well as all the other health facilities throughout the country go through the Health Department.

“This is the beginning. Next year, we want Port Moresby General Hospital to become a statutory body, will have its own budget, look after its own affairs, its human resource capacity so we can look after the patients better,’’ Mr O’Neill said.

He announced this while on a visit at the hospital yesterday to see for himself how the upgrading and renovation works were going on.

He was happy with what he saw, the finished product of the first of the 12 wards that had been renovated.

It cost only K1 million to have the ward, once occupied by cancer patients, turned into a new building as compared to K13 million spent on the accidents and emergency department. He also visited the two acute children’s wards and TB ward, the next ward that has been prepared to undergo refurbishment.

PMGH board chairman Sir Theophilus Constantinou said during the visit that it would cost about K1 million to renovate the other wards, which would have similar paint colours and beds.

Sir Theophilus said the buildings were solid and the workmen were just renovating them.

The refurbished wards will be refitted with new beds, with the first lot to arrive from overseas next week.

PMGH nurses will be trained on how these new beds are to be used.

Normally, the government’s allocation of funds for the hospital goes through the Health Department, but this year the Government had given K50 million directly to the hospital for the refurbishment program and the PM was pleased with the outcome so far.

“It shows that with little we can do a lot. We don’t have to look elsewhere,’’ he said.

He said health and education were on the top priority of the Government this year and negotiations were now on to either continue the same amount or increase the budget for these two sectors next year.

“It’s taken 40 years of neglect, we can’t fix it overnight, be patient with us but in five years time we will do something,’’ said the Prime Minister.

“The renovations at the wards as well as in other parts of the hospital has really uplifted the hospital image, it is very obvious.”

He said if other hospitals in the country were run well, they would also become statutory organisations like PMGH.

Meanwhile, the hospital chief executive officer Grant Muddle told the Post-courier after the visit that the hospital currently had 300 job vacancies to fill despite a few attempts to recruit.

The Department of Personnel Management had also approved the hospital’s request to start recruiting 50 overseas nurses, 20 of whom will arrive from Fiji next week.

The national Department of Health is also in the process of recruiting a specialist the hospital does not have, and plans are afoot to go overseas for more if the recruitment drive for specialists locally are not met.

When the hospital becomes a statutory organisation, he said it would mean that the hospital can negotiate its own terms and conditions for its individual workers rather than going by the limitations set by the Health Department.