Demand for health care at Mt Hagen General Hospital increase by 200 percent

Monday, 10 June 2024, 5:40 pm

People waiting to get treated at Mt Hagen General Hospital outpatient ward. (NBC: Vanessa Ripa)

The demand for primary healthcare at the Mt Hagen General Hospital is stretching its resources.

Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority acting chief executive officer Jane Holden revealed that patient numbers at the hospital's outpatient ward had increased drastically by two hundred percent, after the 2022 National elections.

She said as one of the specialist hospitals in the country, it cannot turn away patients coming from other provinces seeking immediate healthcare attention.

Ms Holden admits, shortage of medical staff is another challenge, and appealed to the people of Western Highlands to understand the current situation.

“The waiting areas [outpatient] are very tense because some people from Western Highlands feel that priority is given to [patients] from other provinces... we are a referral hospital and most importantly a public hospital and we cannot turn patients away.

“We use our own method in treatment, those who are in category one (critical condition) are treated first. There are three categories for patients which means category three patients will be served after the first two category patients [get medical treatments],” Ms Holden said.

Mt Hagen Hospital Emergency Physician Dr John Junior Mckup admits the increase number of people at the emergency ward is now a challenge.

“We only have 20 beds at the emergency [ward] and other patients [sleep] on the floor,” Mr Mckup said.

Meanwhile, the hospital has put forward a health plan to relevant responsible agencies, but the provincial health authority is still awaiting a response.

And the PHA acting chief executive officer is appealing for understanding amongst the patients and people to take care of themselves.