Sat | May 25, 2019

Dalley won't take any blame for health sector problems

Published:Thursday | December 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Montego Bay, St James:

Newly appointed minister of health (MOH), Horace Dalley, has warned that he will not take the blame for the shortcomings of the hospital and its staff as he indicated his colleague and long-time friend the former minister of health, Honourable Dr Fenton Ferguson did.

In his address to a room full of nurses and hospital officials who gathered recently for the signing of a renovation contract at the Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas, the health minister said that Ferguson, who had undergone much backlash regarding an outbreak of infection which resulted in the death of 19 premature babies, was unfairly treated.

"You had a very good minister of health, someone who has worked very hard. He's also a friend of mine, and quite frankly, I must say that the treatment that he has got in the last couple of months, he didn't deserve that type of treatment. The ministry of health is a very large, cumbersome, difficult ministry and I think he has taken the blame for a lot of people, but I do not intend to take the blame for anybody," Dalley said.

He went on to talk about the various responsibilities of the MOH.

According to him: "Every single individual who is charged with a certain responsibility to deliver good health care to our beloved people to the best of their ability, given our economic status in our country, will be held accountable for their area of work. I, as the minister of health, I repeat, I am not going to take the blame for anyone in the health sector.

"I have a chain of command in the health system. We have a ministry of health, the ministry sets the standards in health as a result of its collaboration with Pan American Health Organization, (WHO). Everything has standards, everything has protocols and rules and regulations. We at the Ministry of Health, and we alone, must prepare the policy directions for health, with cooperation, but it is the role of the ministry. The MOH must periodically update and inform the country on the state of the nation. We must alert and advise the country on any threats to health that people are likely faced with. We must be proactive in letting our citizens know that elsewhere in the region or in the world, there are things that are threatening health.

"We must make a budget for health and try to get the best funding from the national budget to execute that health programme, but the MOH doesn't run the hospital; the ministry of health doesn't have the day-to-day functions of the hospitals, therefore, we have a chain of command."

Dalley said that there were people who assume the roles of regional health authorities such as medical directors, CEOs of hospitals, administrators in charge of client service, and parish managers.

"You are charged to do the best you can do. Dr Fenton Ferguson couldn't deliver the health care at Spanish Town Hospital, but finally, the buck stops with him. And since I know the buck stops here, I have to make sure that all of you do what you are paid to do, small though it may be, the remuneration," he said addressing the various health-care workers.