The Government through its Ministry of Health and Medical Services has recommended a new coordinator for the 10-bed arrangement with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
In an exclusive interview with SIBC, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said the ministry made its recommendation for a new coordinator to the Solomon Islands High Commission in Canberra.
“The ministry has identified a coordinator and passed on their information and CV to the high commission,” he said.
Under the 10-bed arrangement, which is believed to be on hold since the end of last year, St Vincent’s Hospital offers free medical services to Solomon Islands citizens annually.
Sir Trevor Garland, the former honorary counsul to Solomon Islands who became embroiled in a sexual assault scandal in January, previously oversaw the program.
Dr Dalipanda said Solomon Islands’ mission in Canberra told his ministry the 10-bed arrangement was suspended due to the lack of a coordinator, while St Vincent’s Hospital cited financial issues as the cause.
But he said the health ministry has not received official confirmation of the arrangement’s suspension from authorities at St Vincent’s.
The reason for the supposed suspension remains unclear.
“At the moment, we don’t know the cause of the suspension,” Dr Dalipanda said. “If it’s a coordinator, we have appointed one maybe almost two months ago. If it’s the fact that the financial budget was exhausted, then we will have to wait until Australia’s new financial year, which starts July 1.”
By Fred Osifelo