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(SNO) –Moses Jn Baptiste, chairman of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and SLP spokesman for health, agriculture, fisheries and food production, has accused Health Minister Mary Isaac of having no sense of urgency when it comes to the island’s health system.
Recently, Isaac was asked by members of the media to give an update on Saint Lucia’s health status which has become under severe criticism from the SLP and unions
Her response was: “In terms of the health status of the nation I am going to give you a briefing as soon as I am able to do so. Right now I would prefer to brief my staff and I have not done that. So for this year I will have to brief the staff of the Ministry of Health then also the associations, the relevant associations and of course the media is going to be at those briefings.”
Jn Baptiste was not impressed.
“There was clearly no urgency in her response,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We are ending the first week of February 2019, and according to medical professionals, people are dying because of worsening conditions at our hospitals. The minister for health has not, by her own admission, briefed her staff, has had no discussions with relevant associations.”
Isaac was also asked about the privatization of hospital in Saint Lucia.
“I do not know that we have any deal with Health City Cayman to finalise,” was her response. “We have about three different consulting agencies on the table and as soon as we hear from all three and we have all the information from all three, the Ministry of Health is going to take a decision and everybody else will know what …the other two players, one is PAHO. The consultants were here this week. The consultants were here Monday and we also are expecting something from Colombia.”
But according to Jn Baptiste, it was the same Isaac who vehemently denied recently that there was any plan to privatize hospitals.
“This the same government which claimed that the transition process to OKEU is going smoothly, yet today we are hearing from the minister of health that three possible operators of our donated OKEU Hospital are being consulted,” he said.
He said the SLP will continue to insist that the island’s hospital be not privatized and a Saint Lucia Labour Party government will do all it can to undo any privatized arrangements at our hospitals.
“It is clear that the government has been taking the people of Saint Lucia for a ride on the issue of St. Jude and OKEU Hospitals,” Jn Baptiste stated. “The people of Saint Lucia and all people who visit our hospitals are suffering, some quietly, some indefinitely, as they see their children, spouses and relatives die before their very eyes, in some cases because of rapidly deteriorating conditions. Some people have the means to access medical care overseas by emergency helicopter evacuation, however all of us, even those who can afford to pay for the helicopter service need the initial professional care of our emergency services in Saint Lucia.”