Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services, Dr Vindhya Persaud, was during a fact-finding mission to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) on Wednesday (May 4, 2017) asked to leave the hospital’s bond despite the purpose the committee’s visit being one to find solutions to ills affecting the institution.
Since taking up the post of chairperson of this parliamentary committee last March, Dr. Persaud has visited the New Amsterdam and Linden Hospitals and the Diamond Diagnostic Centre.
The Georgetown Hospital visit was facilitated on Wednesday but with some reservations on the part of the institution’s board and management when it came to visiting certain parts of the hospital including its bond.
The initial visit to this hospital was scheduled for March of this year but was postponed after the committee was told on the eve of the visit that the Government members would not be available for that day.
However, what was confirmed by the committee was that there were major staff and drug shortages as was the case at the other hospitals visited and a visit to the hospital’s pharmacy also raised more questions. This prompted a request to see the bond but Dr Persaud said the Chairman of the Hospital’s board told the committee that it was not prepared.
According to Dr. Persaud she said no and explained that at the end of the duty of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services is one of oversight which entitles its members to see any part of the hospital barring any immediate medical emergencies or quarantine.
What the Chairman, also finds mind boggling is the resistance from the Hospital’s management and board.
She adds that despite the shortcomings there are many good initiatives at the hospital, but she hopes that the time it took to reschedule the visit was not used to dress things up as this would not help the long term situation.
However, late yesterday (Thursday May 4, 2017), a statement via the Ministry of Health, from the Chairman of the GPHC Board, Kesaundra Alves was sent the media expressing outrage at the version of events that was reported in sections of the media.
According to Alves’ statement “At the pre-visit briefing, (she) Alves informed the Committee and the media that the places selected to be visited were the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department, the Surgical Outpatients Department (SOPD), the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and the Paediatric Department (Baby Heart).”
However, once the tour began, Dr. Persaud indicated that she wanted to see three more departments, namely the main Pharmacy, the main Laboratory and the Maternity Unit; and this was agreed to but “When the touring party left ‘Baby Heart’ and proceeded to the laboratory, Dr. Persaud “broke away from the rest of the group and bolted up the stairs of the pharmacy bond with the media at her heels” Alves statement continued.
Alves then went on to demanded that Dr. Persaud and the media return to the agreed tour schedule which was at this point beyond 2 and a half hours long but the statement says “these requests were ignored and Dr. Persaud and the media went into the Bond unimpeded.”
“It was distasteful and unethical. Clearly there was some hidden agenda” Alves said.