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STATEMENT BY HON MOSES JN BAPTISTE ON THE HEALTH CRISIS IN SAINT LUCIA AT THE SAINT LUCIA LABOUR PARTY PRESS CONFERENCE, SEPTEMBER 18TH, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, today September 18th, 2018 marks 76 days since the Prime Minister announced that work would recommence at the St. Jude Hospital site at Augier Vieux Fort, to date, the government has evidently not started work on the site. This is compounded by the fact that this month marks two years and two months since rehabilitation work was stopped at the St. Jude Hospital reconstruction site. Despite all the pleading of the professionals, patients and general public, there has been no update from the government on its pronouncements on July 4th, 2018.
You will recall that the Saint Lucia Labour Party did call on the government to take note of the special urgent circumstances of the George Odlum Stadium, and to take action to avert any potential disaster which may occur as a result of the worsening conditions. Now, the George Odlum Stadium is without roofing material and the structure is further exposed, placing staff and patients in additional danger.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party once again calls on the government to act in the best interest of the people of Saint Lucia and make the transfer of the staff and patients from the George Odlum Stadium to the refurbished St. Jude Hospital in Augier a top priority of their administration.
Thousands of Saint Lucians who joined the national protest on Sunday September 9th, 2018, the anniversary of the St. Jude fire continued to protest the halt to construction activities on the St. Jude site for over two years and the government’s indecision on the issue.
The government should heed the advice of the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), to complete construction of the East Wing of the hospital and remove the operations of St. Jude Hospital from the George Odlum Stadium urgently.
The government needs to give the people of Saint Lucia an update about the transitioning from the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King EU Hospital and the status of the staff at the Victoria Hospital. Staff at the Victoria Hospital are growing increasingly anxious about their tenure and future conditions of work based on multiple scenarios and pronouncements from different actors in the government.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party is satisfied that the new Act which governs the Millennium Medical Complex, passed by the Labour Party in government, provides protections for the current staff at Victoria Hospital. However, we are watchful and will remain vigilant, to ensure that the protection of workers, that are enshrined in the Act are preserved. The gift of a hospital from the European Union was never meant to be privatized. The Saint Lucia Labour Party once again states that it will seek to undo any arrangement which seeks to privatize the Owen King EU Hospital.
As early as January of this year the Saint Lucia Labour Party cautioned that based on advice from the medical practitioners about the use of dialysis machines without the necessary and adequate support services. Has there been any change to the provision of services for dialysis patients since the recent death of a young farmer?
There have been no specific updates on the proposals for health insurance, the people of Saint Lucia need clarification on the many suggestions that a foreign concern is in discussion with our government to operate our two hospitals.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party calls on the UWP administration to remove this widening veil of uncertainty and fear over our health sector, return to the reconstruction of the St. Jude Hospital and return to the consultative process with the Medical and Dental Association.