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Government Redtape Blocking Well-Needed Medical Equipment

Published:Tuesday | March 22, 2016 | 6:30 PMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell (fourth left), chairman of the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation, and his wife, Rebecca (second right), present a cheque to the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Others in the picture are (from left) Dr Michelle Anne Dawson, senior medical officer of the Bustamante Hospital; Kenneth Benjamin, chairman of Bustamante Hospital; Matron Patrice Ingram Martin, director, nursing services; Sharon Burke, co-producer of the foundation; Kathleen Cooper-Brown, hospital administrator; Christopher Tufton, minister of health; and Dr Lambert Innis, head of anaesthesia and intensive care.

Government red tape has been listed as one of the major obstacles that has prevented the Bustamante Hospital for Children from receiving well-need equipment to better serve the nation's children.

This was the concern expressed by Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell, founder of the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation, who, after hosting his charity concert in January, presented the $55 million raised to the hospital at a ceremony yesterday.

"The last two concerts (2012 and 2014), one of the major objectives was to donate a cath lab (cardiac catheterisation laboratory), and people have been asking about it. But just like you, we, too, have been waiting, and all that is needed is for a memorandum of understanding to be signed, which has been a tedious process," he declared.

"Foreign entities have expressed interest and are willing to help us, but the longer we take, they get frustrated, and opportunities are missed," he said.

A cath lab is an examination room in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries and chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found.

Burrell, however, asserted that he and his team would not be daunted.

"This is not about being fabulous or the glitter. Let us not forget why we are here. Let us not forget why we do this. It is all about the children. This is probably one of the toughest concerts we had, because we had to be competing with other parties, but even with those challenges, we are here and saving lives," Burrell charged.


Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton expressed that he was grateful for the contribution and promised to address the bureaucracy.

"There is just a lack of resources, which is not unique to us, but we cannot be complacent. We have to do everything we can to make sure that our children of this hospital and others who are unable to afford it have an equal opportunity to access services. That is a critical role of government," Tufton said.

"I have taken note of the concerns and I can reassure him that we will be planning a meeting to iron out some issues, because we have to make sure that the framework works and there is no hindrance to the process. If and when someone or an entity wants to provide support, we have to demonstrate that we need that assistance," he declared.

The minister added, "We are going to have to lobby to get more, engage private sector through what is termed public-private partnerships, where you combine your efforts, time and resources to creatively find solutions that can cater to those who can and those who can't afford it."

Dr Lambert Innis, head of anaesthesia and intensive care at the hospital, indicated that it was an emotional moment for him.

"I have to be careful, or else I will become very emotional. I can remember the first day he came and donated the first piece of medical equipment. The scores of lives I have saved working in the intensive care unit, I can only have a certain expectation that is way above my stature as to what is going to happen at this institution and the ability of my colleagues to attend to our patients. Today is a fantastic day," he declared.