Conditions at JNF Hospital Have Deteriorated
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
December 28, 2009
People’s Action Movement
By: Glenroy Blanchette
Minister Dr. Earl Asim Martin and his Cabinet colleagues like to boast that JNF Hospital is a state-of-the-art health institution. However, a cursory examination of the hospital will reveal that there is much to be desired in the hospital’s quality of health care delivery.
A few months ago, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin complained bitterly about the inability of our public health institutions to deliver certain types of patient care services. He was immediately rebuffed by government officials for his candid statements about the poor state of our health institutions. However, as the official charged with the responsibility of overseeing health care delivery in our country, the Chief Medical Officer was simply drawing public attention to the dire situation at JNF, a situation that needs urgent remedial action. Regrettably, his cry for help has fallen on deaf ears.
It is a great disappointment that conditions at JNF has deteriorated under the watch of two elected government ministers who themselves are medical doctors. Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and Dr. Earl Asim Martin ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing our health institutions to degenerate into a state of mediocrity.
The level of incompetence of the present Douglas-led Administration is fast becoming legendary. There has been a vacuum of proper health care policy formulation and implementation for our health institutions. Regular political interference in the daily operations of our public health institutions has exacerbated the problem.
The dismissal, transfer, demotion and disrespect of qualified and trained doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians because of their party affiliation or objectivity has contributed to the declining morale of staff and a general decline in standards of service. Some trained nurses are still being denied their rightful promotion and salary upgrade. The lack of medical supplies, especially medication for patients suffering from diabetes and hypertension is cause for concern. The frequent power outages sometimes put those patients at even greater risk.
The hospital kitchen is in need of urgent repairs. Rats inhabit the numerous hospital drains and the lone cat is afraid to disembark the roof of the kitchen. There have been reports of wards being flooded, the morgue not working, leaky roofs, poor ventilation and air-conditioning, no dialysis machine, no MRI, slow out-patient service, etc.
Credit must be given to the hardworking nurses, doctors, lab technicians and maintenance crews for doing their best under very trying circumstances.
A state-of-the-art hospital is not just a new building. It is a modern approach to the delivery of quality medical treatment and health care using modern, advanced medical equipment and services such as minimally invasive robotic surgery technology, smart hospital information management and a host of other services and amenities comparable to a five-star hotel.
A state-of-the-art hospital is internationally competitive in terms of the specialized skills of its nurses and doctors. It provides a new, civilized, and modern approach to the treatment and management of staff, with particular emphasis on job satisfaction. A state-of-the-art hospital adopts and enforces a policy and practice of delivering first-class treatment to its patients at all times and at affordable costs.
In light of the foregoing information, do we really have a state-of-the-art hospital?