In light of what has been happening in the last couple of months between the Board and Management and the clinical staff unions over claims of corruption and mismanagement within the WHPHA, a general staff meeting was held on Monday, 8th August 2016 to clarify the situation.
The Board called for this meeting to clarify the results of the investigations and recommendations by the Committee of Inquiry and then the Multi-Sectoral Taskforce.
The Board members led by its Chairman, Mr. David Guinn, had hoped that more of the staff working on the Mt Hagen Hospital campus would attend the meeting.
The meeting proceeded and Mr. Guinn explained that the Board and Management had cooperated with the two investigation teams and had provided all the necessary information in order for them to complete their investigations and make their final recommendations.
He told the staff that the two investigation teams had not found any evidence of corruption or mismanagement which clearly demonstrated that the initial allegations were unfounded and were the work of some members of our staff who had vested interests to see things done their way.
Mr. Guinn said the allegations were serious and ridiculous in nature and were aimed at attacking the Board and Management who had done nothing wrong and nothing to hide.
“There was lack of good understanding by those who wrote the petition on the roles and responsibilities of the Board and Management.
“They do not seem to understand the difference between the Board and Management roles. Management is responsible for all operational issues, not the Board. The credibility of the WHPHA has been severely damaged and we need to restore it for the good of all the people of Western Highlands”, he said.
On the provision of a 25-seater bus for the nurses, Mr. Guinn said this was one of the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry and the Board had acted swiftly to provide the required transport but was rejected twice by the nurses. He said however that this would be discussed with the nurses again very soon.
Mr. Guinn said with the nurses’ new accommodation unit, the job had been tendered and a contract awarded but the contractor had faced problems after starting work and the job has now be given to another contractor to build it.
The position of a Director for Nursing, Mr. Guinn said, had been created in 2011 and it would be advertised soon as it was an important position and an integral part of the hospital and the WHPHA.
Issues with the Operating Theatre and the Accidents and Emergency (A&E) Unit were also raised at the meeting by Dr. Paulus Ripa, the Deputy Director Medical Services who said they needed urgent attention.
He said all elective surgeries had been cancelled and only emergencies were being dealt with while waiting for the temporary theatre to be completed which he said was taking too long.
The theatre has been temporarily moved to the Well Women’s Clinic while the clinic has been relocated on the ground floor of the new container building next to the Project Management Unit office.
Mr. Guinn said the delay was a direct result of disagreements between the doctors on how the internal arrangements of the theatre should be done but that being resolved, work was now progressing well and the theatre should be ready soon.
He said work on the A&E had also been carried out and completed, making it more conducive for clinical staff to work in and for patients to be treated and accommodated.
Mr. Guinn said a substantial amount of money had been spent to outsource a contractor, Gilsenan Melpa Ltd., to renovate the entire unit including fixing the toilets and the nurses’ work station and putting in new beds and tiles on the floor.
He told the staff that no major works could be carried out on the A&E unit as the building would eventually be pulled down and replaced with new ones under the new hospital redevelopment.