BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
Government is re-visiting the 10-bed arrangement with St Vincent hospital in Australia.
It aims to first pay off any outstanding bill with the hospital.
Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmie Rodgers said this at a recent press conference.
“With St Vincent hospital at the moment we are not aware of any outstanding debts since 2019 through the new process, if there are outstanding ones Health is now trying to find out so that we can help clean our debts.
“So what we need to do is to establish if there are unmet arrears, found out about them and we of course committed to clear them because if not the arrears will block the transfer of patients going in,” Rodgers said.
He explained this 10-bed agreement was signed between the New South Wales Minister and Minister for Health and Medical Services in Solomon Islands.
“They signed that agreement on a 10-bed agreement meaning St Vincent Hospital will accept and treat for free up to 10 patients referred from the National Referral Hospital.
“Everyone went to St Vincent were referred to an agreed process between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and St Vincent Hospital.
“Those 10 were not free. Then over the years the 10 expanded to 30 but because St Vincent hospital is operated by the Sisters Of Charity they have big charitable heart so they accepted the number,” Rodgers said
He said over the years the St Vincent hospital changed system.
“The State government started to take control and from thereon we started to pay for referrals.
“On 2019 a team went over to negotiate with St Vincent Hospital and at that negotiation it was made very clear that the charitable heart no longer exists. But the assistance of the 10 beds still remains but how they work is still not completed, they haven’t come back and is yet to be confirmed,” Rodgers said.
He adds, “Ministry of Health has also signed an agreement with Solomon Foundation which is an entity health registered in Australia .
“So all referrals of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will go to Solomon Foundation.”