Tue | Oct 24, 2017

Falconer chides Holness' Facebook post of hospital patients

Published:Monday | November 9, 2015 | 4:26 PMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Holness captioned this photo: "This is the situation in some of our hospitals. The audit report will never capture the indignity our healthcare system serves out to the poor who must use the service, like this picture does!"

Government senator, Sandrea Falconer, has accused Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, of 'desperation' and engaging in 'dirty politics', for posting on his Facebook page, a photo of two hospital patients sharing cramped quarters.

The picture was posted this morning and shows two men beside each other; one apparently on a bed and the other on a stretcher.

Holness captioned the photo: "This is the situation in some of our hospitals. The audit report will never capture the indignity our healthcare system serves out to the poor who must use the service, like this picture does!" 

Government senator, Sandrea Falconer – File Photo

Government senator, Sandrea Falconer – File Photo

However, Senator Falconer, the Minister with responsibility for Information, has condemned the use of the image and accused Holness of vulgar exploitation. 

"Tearing down the health sector, exposing the sick and invading their privacy in a most vulgar way for cheap political mileage. Shame on you. How can you exploit the sick in this way Andrew Holness? ‪#‎dirtypolitics‬ ‪#‎desperationtime‬", she said in a Facebook post. 

She was supported by dozens of commenters, one of whom said the posting of the picture was "sick, despicable, desperate, low, and all the negative adjectives I could use to describe what he did by exploiting the privacy of these sick people."

Even as Holness' post received much support and concerns were raised about the quality of health care in Jamaica, one upset commenter questioned "why the hypocrisy Andrew ... what did you or the JLP did [sic] to change this situation  ... this didn't happen over night ... this is an ongoing situation". 

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

When contacted, Marlon Morgan, aide to Holness, was unable to say where and when the picture was taken, although the stretcher is labelled 'KPH'. 

He dismissed the privacy concern saying while the picture may be offensive, it highlighted the problems in the health service that the government does not want to receive public attention. 

"The reality on the ground and the truth may create discomfort and cause discomfort for some but it is not a sin", he told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre.

The health sector has come under renewed scrutiny following the publication of recently suppressed audits which highlight the absence of basic resources and questionable practices.