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Health Minister rejects calls to resign over baby death scandal

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2015 | 10:18 PM
Ferguson . Justice must not only be done but also appear to have been done and by virtue of when I was advised I believe that my actions since that time represented what could have best been done.

The Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson has rejected calls to resign over the deaths of 18 babies at two major hospitals saying he acted when he became aware of a problem at the facilities.

He has also suggested that the calls for him to step down are politically motivated.

Eighteen babies have died at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and the Cornwall Regional Hospital following an infectious outbreak caused by the bacteria klebsiella and serratia.

READ: Four months, 18 babies dead and the health minister in the dark

"Justice must not only be done but also appear to have been done and by virtue of when I was advised I believe that my actions since that time represented what could have best been done," Ferguson told The Gleaner.

Last night, the UHWI issued a statement accepting that there was a breach of protocol because the Health Ministry was not informed until Friday — the same day the matter was reported on Nationwide Radio.

READ: UHWI takes blame for keeping Ferguson in dark over baby deaths

Hours later, Ferguson would cite the release as justification for his decision not to step down.

"The press release from the board of the University Hospital confirms that there was a breach of protocol and as a result there was failure to communicate at different levels," he said.

Ferguson said a meeting was called on Friday after he was notified about the problem and another was held with the major stakeholders at the University Hospital.

"I think one of the worst things that could have happened in this country and the precedence I see coming, is for politics to be seeping into a sector like health and we will pay dearly if we allow this to happen," he said regarding calls for his resignation.