A number of arrangements have been made to ensure both the Tupapa Health Clinic and Rarotonga Hospital is well staffed, and capable of treating the influx of visitors.
Chief medical officer Dr Bernard Fouke says some workers have even cancelled leave to ensure there are enough staff members available during this time.
As well as the ambulance and emergency teams at the hospital, Fouke says there will also be a nurse and ambulance officer stationed at the auditorium and the marketplace.
At the evening events at the auditorium, and the constitution events at the foreshore, there will be a medical team consisting of a doctor and a nurse.
Fouke says this critical care team will be on hand to deal with any emergencies and resuscitations, before handing patients over to an ambulance team who will bring the patient to the hospital.
The extra staff working on site during the celebrations won’t mean there is less staff at the Tupapa Clinic or hospital, Fouke says.
“We’re just increasing staff basically, so people are working overtime and leaves have been cancelled so we have enough capacity to do this,” he says.
On top of this, the Tupapa Health Clinic will have longer opening hours and will close later than the usual 4pm.
“We’ve always had the capacity to deal with the extra visitors from the outer islands and from Australia and New Zealand, but previously we have said come 4pm, people will have to come up to the hospital. But not this time,” Fouke says.
Fouke also says residents of Rarotonga shouldn’t experience any changes to their regular medical routine, or to visits at the clinic and hospital.
“The general public really shouldn’t see any difference for their level of medical care, except that it might be busier,” he says.
There will also be a nurse available at each hostel for medical checks and assistance for Pa Enua visitors.
The Member of Parliament for each island has also organised vehicles for each hostel, to be used for medical visits and checks.
The Pa Enua visitors were advised to bring all of their regular medication with them to Rarotonga, as the Ministry of Health do not have enough stock on hand to hand out new prescriptions.
Fouke says this is not a case of the island running out of medicine, but trying to avoid making a special order which comes with extra costs.
However, the Ministry of Health have advised that non-urgent dental appointments will be prioritised for Pa Enua visitors.