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STATEMENT BY HON MOSES JN BAPTISTE, SLP CHAIRMAN AND SLP SPOKESMAN ON HEALTH, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES & FOOD PRODUCTION ON INCREASING HEALTH CRISIS IN SAINT LUCIA. AUGUST 7TH, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, the Saint Lucia Labour Party is once again raising the alarm about the life-threatening situations which the people of Saint Lucia are facing increasingly, in their attempts to access quality healthcare.
We continue to be alarmed at the disregard that the government of Saint Lucia shows for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, or any professional who has challenged their arrogant and misguided decisions relating to healthcare.
You may recall that on January 18, 2018, I questioned the decision by the government to operate Dialysis machines without the necessary accompanying services. You may recall that the Saint Lucia Labour Party warned about having to rush patients to Victoria Hospital in the event of an emergency arising from the use of the Dialysis in a situation without the necessary services at the Owen King-EU Hospital.
Our worst fears seem to have come to pass when recently a male patient died after difficulties relating to dialysis at the Owen King EU Hospital.
We have been reliably informed that the required services for his emergency had to be sourced at the Victoria Hospital and that the conditions that were needed for his recovery were not readily available at the Dialysis Unit at the Owen King EU Hospital.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party is concerned that more Saint Lucians continue to be exposed to the same inadequate services that are so crucial for the successful and safe operation of the Dialysis Units at the Owen King EU Hospital, that instead of implementing the correct and proper systems the government chose to use the Dialysis Unit as a politically expedient exercise.
The latest incident at the Owen King EU Hospital is another example of the negative consequences of the improper and harp hazard transitioning from the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King EU Hospital. This amidst the still growing concerns, about the government’s intention, to privatize the services of the Owen King EU Hospital.
It is the view of the Saint Lucia Labour Party that the government refuses to complete the transition from the Victoria Hospital to the Owen King Eu to accommodate private foreign interests who intend to operate the Owen King EU Hospital for profit.
The following questions continue to worry the people of Saint Lucia.
1. Has the government completely handed over the Owen King EU Hospital Complex to a foreign private firm?
2. Has the government agreed to allow the private foreign firm to bring in all of their medical staff?
3. Will all of the nurses at Victoria Hospital lose their jobs as a result of the impending foreign operation of the Owen King EU?
There is even more deliberate confusion by the government about the St. Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project. The government recently indicated that a new wing will be constructed on the St. Jude site at Augier, however that statement gave no comfort to the hundreds of patients, staff and visitors who access the St. Jude Hospital at the George Odlum Stadium. To this day, no details on the site have been provided to the public and no commencement date for the project has been announced by the government.
The following burning questions remain:
1. Has the government arranged to hand over the St. Jude Hospital site to a foreign private concern?
2. Will the “new wing” which the government referred to be constructed away from the current site, in keeping with the same plans which were originally announced by the government?
3. Is the government still planning to abandon the St. Jude Hospital site?
The Saint Labour Party has concluded that again the government has simply tried to sow confusion on the St. Jude issue after much pressure from the public.
The recent reports of concerns and evidence of fiberglass injury to doctors, nurses and other users of the St. Jude Hospital, although making the situation more urgent, did not cause the government to change its arrogant attacks on people and professionals. Although there was a pause in the removal of the fiberglass laden roofing material, there has been no official announcement by the government on the way forward with the roof of the stadium which they started to demolish, with patients and medical staff inside.
The same attitude has been shown with a partial opening of the Soufriere Hospital with no definite response to the growing medical needs of the people who access the Soufriere Hospital.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party will continue to protest the manner in which the government has handled the healthcare crises in Saint Lucia. The vast majority of Saint Lucians do not have the resources to accesses the health systems of the United States, Martinique or other countries. The state-of-the-art equipment that are at the Owen King EU and those purchased for St. Jude Hospital were obtained for the benefit of all Saint Lucians.
We believe that the government continues to be insensitive to the growing calls of Saint Lucians to listen to the advice of professionals. We believe that the Cabinet of Ministers is acting in their own self-interest and are pursuing secret deals with foreign companies to take over our health system in a “wholesale” manner.
We believe that the Prime Minister and his ministers are not perturbed that every week there are stories of more horror situations that are as a result of the callous attitude and approach of the government to our healthcare systems in Saint Lucia.