St. Jude official speaks on hospital woes, says solutions could come by year-end

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St. Jude official speaks on hospital woes, says solutions could come by year-end
Hon. Alvina Reynolds (right)- Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations and Dr. Chierry Poyotte - Executive Director, St. Jude Hospital
Alvina Reynolds (right) – Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, and Dr. Chierry Poyotte – Executive Director, St. Jude Hospital

Responding to various concerns raised in the media regarding operations at the St. Jude Hospital in the past week, Health Minister Alvina Reynolds has reiterated her ministry’s commitment to working step by step with the institution to ensure that all issues are addressed. Hospital management has admitted to reports of cash flow problems and said that solutions could come by year end.

Reynolds and Executive Director at St. Jude Dr. Chierry Poyotte spoke to media in effort to provide some clarification the various issues which have been brought to the fore regarding the hospital in recent times.

Last week, Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert through a press release, pointed out several concerns which she claimed have been expressed by staff and patients of the hospital.

She labelled the situation as dire and said it “threatens to cripple the operation” of the southern hospital. Dr. Rigobert pointed to financial constraints as the main reason for a host of the problems at the institution which includes its alleged inability to purchase basic supplies such as toilet paper and commonly used medication such as painkillers.

There were also reports of the constant malfunctioning of essential hospital equipment. The opposition leader also pointed to a “deteriorating structure” at the make-shift hospital (George Odlum Stadium) and had called on the prime minister and minister of health to address the issue.

Speaking to media Executive Director at St. Jude Hospital Dr. Chierry Poyotte admitted to a number of “issues” at the hospital – cash flow being a major one.
He also confirmed reports of infrastructural, electrical, plumbing and other issues since moving into the George Odlum Stadium (makeshift hospital).

“Most recently we had issues relating to a leak in the gas tank and we have done the root cause analysis of that situation and … we need to make some improvements in our communication systems both internally in terms of informing senior management of issues and also externally,” he added.

“We have now created a hospital out of a stadium which is not meant to house a hospital. We’ve had to adjust to the situation and I think by and large we have done an excellent job,” he said.

He informed of challenges regarding the hospital’s financial statements dating back to almost 10 years ago. He said the hospital is looking to have them resolved in the coming months.

“We have within the past two or three years, done an analysis of some of the financial issues that are facing the hospital. There are some challenges …with regard to financial statements that date back to 2004-2005. We have done a full court press on those issues and we expect to have all of them resolved for example before the end of this financial year.

The executive director said the hospital’s management is using the time at the stadium as a learning experience for when it is transferred back to the new St. Jude Hospital building.

“We are looking at our operating systems. Wherever we see gaps in our operating systems we deal with them. We put into place polices and procedures that deal with whatever gaps that we have,” he said.

Poyotte praised his staff and management for their ability to work in times of adversity.

He said that many of the problems that exist have plagued the institution for many years.

He said he is prepared to give his best effort to dealing with those issues.
He added, “One of the more important things that has happened is that ..we have taken the time to elaborate all of the challenges that we are facing and there are numerous.

Poyotte lamented that there was a time when St Jude had begun to gain some traction financially, but was drawn back by the current economic crisis.
He further spoke of a need to approach the situation with urgency however noted that “we need to approach these things in a rational way.”
He assured that there are plans to continue dialogue with the public on those issues.

Last week, Minister Reynolds said she was aware of the problems at the hospital and vowed that government would undertake a number of initiatives in order to remedy the situation.

In a statement this week, Reynolds said that government aims to provide health facilities that are safe and functional, hence the reason for the construction of the New National Hospital, the new St. Jude facility and the prime minister orgnanising and engaging in meetings and trips with partners with a view to secure support for the development of the health sector.

“The government of St. Lucia sees health as a basic human right. The mandate of the ministry of health is to develop a health service delivery system that is acceptable, affordable, equitable, and sustainable and of international standard,” she said.

Reynolds said that her ministry intends to keep the population updated on the situation within the coming months.

“St. Jude Hospital has faced a myriad of problems over the years; some of them financial, some of them technical; others human resource – and so we continue to work and collaborate with St. Jude Hospital…” she said.

She further admitted that financial problems have taken a toll on her government’s plans for the health sector and the hospitals, “but we are committed to ensuring that these problems are addressed step by step…because at the end of the day…we want to ensure that in St. Lucia we have health systems that are delivering good health care to the people of St Lucia.”

She extended special words of gratitude and commendation to St. Jude’s staff for their commitment in trying times “because they are under pressure. They have been at the stadium since 2009.”

She pointed out that the problems experienced now began in 2003 and that government not only has had to deal with getting the new hospitals in order but constructing and maintaining the various health centers and hospitals around the island.

“ A lot of resources are going into the primary health care system to ensure that we do not see the burden and the overcrowding that continue to happen at Victoria Hospital and St. Jude Hospital,” she said.

“Yes there are problems at both Victoria Hospital and St. Jude Hospital but be assured that the ministry… will continue to do its best to respond adequately…” she said.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Bill I agree with you 100 % and trust me that is a situation occuring in all other institutions around the island, education included.

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  2. Just another institutional time-bomb like all others run by the Government. Don't you know that the policies of a socialist government is entrenched in secrecy and denial?

    Well one thing i have learned for sure that St. Luicans don't read too much to satisfy their own curiosity. They love to be educated by politicians and when that backfires they blame everybody else. We all got the government we deserved.
    NEWSFLASH. Management of these institutions just do what they are told to do. So what are you going to do? You think that the Government is not aware of what is going on.

    Who started the NICE Program? What was it supossed to do? If you ask me it was meant to do exactly what it is doing to ensure that the government has its people in there to present a rosy picture to the public and to spy on other workers. Take the Civil Service for example. What happened during the Civil Service strike? While workers were striking things were NICE in the service.
    This is also exactly why the government wage bill has skyrocketted. Why could we have given gone through a Hurricane, drought and financial crisis and still give a 14% increase. Now with VAT we still cannot afford a pecko? Look like Lucians more stupid than i thought.

    Lucians have all kind of mind to figure out when a partner horning them. When a vendor or obeah man trying to work them out but when it comes to politicans they play like they are afraid or they just allow them. Well i for one happy that we got the government we deserve. One without a plan.

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  3. Oh yea, get rid of all your well experienced staff who speak out against your bad practices and employ ornaments. What a joy it would be. How can you want dummies to work for you? The Ministry of health needs to keep a close eye on that place. You have such capable staff, you are frustrating them and mismanaging funds. You are also giving new responsibilities to departments and offering no incentives. I hope when you get rid of staff, the NICE workers will run the place for you. Management, I wish you well.

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  4. CEO come clean and ask for help. Stop pretending and covering up the real issues. It is not because you have a D R to your name that you have to walk around for others to kiss your feet. You mean, with so many capable st. Lucians why are only controversial individuals in senior posts at the hospital. Sit at a meeting with them and you will see. I hope the labour code counts for something.

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  5. Now Ms. Minister, do you know staff is being FORCED to work an extra half hour. I guess this is another trick they are pulling out of a hat. What nonesense! Now not only do they run the hospital broke but they are now trying to tearfamilies apart. Now HR will the extra time bring back the money that has been vanishing from the briefcase. Rule no. 1. If someone has a history of litigation and making bad decisions, why bring him or her in. FOOLS! Guess the media should keep an eye on st jude because I hear they want a list of those who refuse to work the extra half hour. VICTIMIZATION!

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  6. The SISTERS need to come back as someone else said. Look at the high turnovet rate. If you ever attend a meeting with the CEO he never gives you a chance to talk.only a selected few can put in a word because "I am the boss" mentality. We failed our country by putting him there. Now he has some poodles in accounts and hr wagging their tails behind him...over lunch perhaps...hahaha...As for the spartan man, he knows of the problems, he pretends to listen yet he makes no difference. That's just too bad. I will soon pass go and collect my $200 then get the hxxx outa there.

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  7. As someone said some time ago, Saint Jude's Hospital is a metaphor for the nature and state of play of Saint Lucia's societal health.

    The country is on auto-pilot at best, and is imploding on all societal fronts and key welfare metrics.

    The current, like the last administration, is driven by short-term re-election goals, but is absolutely clueless and totally incapacitated regarding moving the country to the next level.

    Nobody in the SLP today, from the tippy top, to the bottom (somebody called those at the bottom, the En Rouge-nistas) does not even show a spark, or a scintilla of intelligence in this regard.

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  8. If your employees are unhappy, how are you ever going to achieve anything positive. The problem is the management team - insensitive, and insincere.

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  9. Lousy management team and worst yet the Board, The chairman is a waste of time, talk, talk, talk , lies, lies, lies. He should keep his job at Spartan medical school. That's where his interest is only. The minister another waste, her fairytale voice and motions is only good for snow white and the seven dwarfs episode. The CEO is a man who covers up a lot of his people and things to make himself look good. Remember I am the boss!!! Perhaps he dictates to his management team how to run tings his way?

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  10. These people including the CEO is hiding the problems at SJH, for him not to look bad at the head, There are more issues hidden under the belt. Patients and Staff know but are afraid to speak out for fear of victimization or miss treatment when they come to see the doctors. Yesterdays press conference was dry offered no solutions, it was a smoke screen to stray away from the issues, the gas leak could have killed staff and patient but was down play by the CEO for some reason or another, policies and procedures are only on paper, and may never be implemented, speak to a staff member who is willing to talk and you will hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth. some Staff members do what they want. The financial crisis at SJH started when it became a statutory body and Kenny did not right off the debts then, plus the management of funds at SJH. It is my understanding that the CEO was always tell his staff " There is no money when I say so" He IS The Boss. Are all the projects couple with them being at the stadium for so long well planned before patching things. Are there bed sheets for patient now, or hot water to bathe these are some of what they had to discuss. St. Lucia Sinking. Only god can put a hand, By the way Can we get the SISTERS to come back please even if the CEO I was told keeps saying the MOTHER IRMA SYDROME IS NO LONGER, That was then this is now!!!!!!!!!!

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    • I totally agree.
      The press conference did not address the specific issues, in fact, the issues were just glazed over. The CEO even brought in other issues that had no relevance to broken equipment, no supplies, etc. etc. so as to cover up the main issues.
      Now a scapegoat is being sought.

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  11. Really dr. Poyotte. Stop making excuses. The problems started when u came in. That must say something

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  12. We are behaving as if the problems are merely financial. Ask management how many of their staff's names do they know. I am sure you would be apalled. But the senior team do a lot of gel-ling among themselves over lunch. Do not wish to work there, a slow poison

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  13. A myriad of problems huh? From, CEO to HR to accounts. They are going to result in the downfall of the place our forefathers and the sisters of the sorrowful mother worked so hard to take to a level admired by many. Now you see a lot of new faces with masa mentality working together to victimize staff.

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  14. St.jude hospital has a lousy management team. They are treading on dangerous grounds. They are ill treating staff and forcing them work overtime, a move which is contrary to what is in the labour code.

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