Nima Wangdi 

Those planning to go to Australia will now no longer have to travel and wait in queue at JDWNR Hospital in Thimphu for an immigration medical examination (IME). This is because the Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH) in Gelephu and Eastern Regional Referral Hospital (ERRH) in Mongar will start to offer the service today.

The two hospitals started registering applicants on February 6 according to officials from the health ministry. The actual medical examination service will start today.

An official from CRRH said that some 54 people have registered with the hospital as of yesterday. The service will be provided from 3pm to 6pm except on weekends and government holidays. The official said they would take eight persons in a day for now.  Similarly, health ministry officials said Mongar hospital has recorded eight applicants as of yesterday afternoon.

Gelephu hospital management said that the commencement of the service comes after the successful empanelment of the CRRH and the panel physicians, and radiologists by the Australian government upon request and support of the government.

Anyone planning to go to Australia should have a medical certificate for Visa application and only physicians approved by the Australian government can perform the medical examination.

Only a team at JDWNRH was recognised to do it earlier.

The health ministry wrote to the ministry of foreign affairs and external trade (MoFAET) who in turn wrote to the Australian government for approval and Australian Home Affairs approved ERRH and CRRH to perform the medical test on January 17.

Officials from the health ministry earlier had said that the commencement of e-medical services at two more regional hospitals would help reduce the patient load at JDWNRH. “There were also some cases where people traveled from far to Thimphu and failed to get appointments on time due to many rushing for the service.”