Court stays UPNG medical faculty separation

A government decision to separate the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of PNG to a standalone university has been stayed by the National Court.

The National Executive Council decision became subject to judicial review after leave was granted today in court.

On September 4, 2017, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill revealed during the 53rd annual medical symposium forum in Port Moresby the National Executive Council’s approval to separate it from UPNG.

The decision was made in February last year after a trip to Cuba to recruit 30 Cuban doctors to serve in 15 districts in the country.

With an ageing workforce in the health sector and about 9,500 frontline health workers, the decision was made to separate the School of Medicine from UPNG and establish it as a university.

It was also made in anticipation it will produce more doctors than in the past 50 years.

Following that decision, UPNG filed a case seeking judicial review.

The university council claims it was not consulted in the decision.

Today leave was granted by the National Court for a review into the decision because UPNG met requirements that it had an arguable case.

The onus is now on UPNG to file that substantive motion for hearing.

The matter will return to court at a later date.

(File picture of UPNG’s medical faculty)

Sally Pokiton