Tue | May 21, 2019

Foolishness! Hospital staffers defend facility even while patients still complain

Published:Thursday | March 14, 2019 | 12:07 AMCarl Gilchrist

St Ann’s Bay, St Ann:

A shocking allegation made in a letter to The Gleaner last week of patients having to pay staff at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital in order to be treated, has been flatly rejected by workers at the institution.

“Foolishness!” said patient care assistant at the hospital, Lydia Johnson-Fladger, when The Gleaner asked her to comment on the allegation.

Johnson-Fladger, a practical nurse, has over 11 years service at the hospital and said that, as far as she knows, staff at the hospital, including herself, has been going beyond the call of duty over the years just to ensure patients are adequately taken care of, without any reward from them.

“Is several times mi assist patients with fare and clothing and even buy pampers out of my own pocket,” she related. “Sometimes they don’t eat the meal what the hospital cook an’ mi haffi give dem my personal lunch and mi nuh get back no favours. All dem do is tell me thanks when dem relatives come. Is through the kindness of mi heart mi help.”

She continued: “We do things for patients all the while and we don’t expect anything. This is our job and if you have love inna yuh heart, why yuh a go want to collect? You love the job you do, so you go out and you do your best.”

She explained that based on hospital policy, if workers collect money from clients to access service they would lose their job.

“You can go home if you collect money for anything, so that is foolishness. I don’t believe in that,” she contends.

Other workers who spoke also dismissed the claims of money for service at the hospital.

Several taxi drivers who run from the hospital to St Ann’s Bay and are used to getting earfuls of complaints from distressed passengers just leaving the facility, told The Gleaner that over the years complaints have consistently been of poor and slow service.

“A nuff time mi hear passenger say how dem haffi raise hell fi get through but mi never hear bout no money thing. First mi a hear dat,” one driver said.

On Saturday, however, one disgruntled complainant who was sitting on the hospital compound waiting impatiently to pick up a relative, said the idea of money having to be paid was not far-fetched, even as he admitted it was the first he was hearing such allegation.

He said he was used to poor service being meted out at the hospital, but was only experiencing it for the first time over the past few weeks, as he had a relative admitted there.

“The hospital looks good from the outside, but the inner section, the caregiving part, needs to be looked at very seriously because a lot of complaints are coming out and I can see why people are dying on these wards so often,” he said.

“The nurses, the attendants, the treatment you get on the ward is not good, it’s just not good, not good at all. I hear people complaining for a long time and I’ve just gotten to find out. There are no nurses, the doctors, sometimes the language barrier is a problem, you have long waiting periods, nobody seeing to your welfare. Everybody is negative about this hospital.”