Sunday, October 31, 2010

PACIFIC MEDICAL CENTER (PMC) IS NOT A PUBLIC-PRIVATE-PARTNERSHIP HEALTHCARE INITIATIVE.


 

MARTYN NAMORONG, PORT MORESBY

"Will PMC be developed as a public-private partnership healthcare initiative?"

"PMC is a 100% not-for-profit government hospital that will be developed and operated jointly by the Government and expert global teams that are not part of the Government as described here. So it is a public private initiative – which is consistent with national government policy on forging effective public-private partnerships to deliver health services as is called for in the National Health Plan 2011-2020 and by the Vision 2050." [GoPNG, Post Courier on Friday 29th of October 2010, page22]

I believe the government is singing from the wrong policy hymn-sheet with regards to defining PMC as a public private partnership (PPP) healthcare initiative when they state that the project … is a public private initiative – which is consistent with national government policy on forging effective public-private partnerships to deliver health services as is called for in the National Health Plan 2011-2020 and by the Vision 2050.".

Papua New Guinea has a National Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Policy that was approved by NEC in December 2008 in NEC Decision No: 274/2008. [The policy can be accessed from the Planning department website
www.planning.gov.pg]. It is this policy that should guide the government in considering whether PMC is a Public-Private Partnership in Healthcare delivery. The policy defines what constitutes PPPs and is based on three key principles; 1) Value for Money (2) Competitive Tension and (3) Transparency and Accountability. Implementation of the Policy will be by a new Office under Treasury to be known as the PPP Center. The powers and functions of the Center are set out in a draft PPP Bill still under consideration by the PPP Task-force.


 

PMC is as Dr Mola points out "a private political initiative". It does not conform to the precepts of the National Public Private Partnership Policy and as such should not be regarded as a public-private partnership in delivery of health services. In terms of value for money, the project exposes the government to enormous long-term fiscal obligations, while benefiting ONLY A FEW. The government intends to spend hundreds of millions of kina without going through a public bidding process as defined under the second principle of the National PPP Policy or the existing Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). There have been serious governance issues leading up to the approval of the project by the government which is contrary to the third principle of the National PPP Policy regarding Transparency and Accountability.

The enabling legal and institutional framework for implementing the National PPP Policy is yet to be realized. As such PMC cannot be labeled as a PPP project if it has not been considered under the National PPP Policy legal and institutional processes.

Let me end with the opening quote used by the government in its ad "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"-Albert Einstein (1879-1955). Is the government vision impaired 20/50 that it can't see the white elephant that lies on a hilltop adjacent to Port Moresby General Hospital? Hasn't the government noted the case between Pioneer Health Services and the Fly River Provincial Government?