Thu | Jun 1, 2023

Health minister makes me sick

Published:Tuesday | July 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM


In a state of utter shock, I saw Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson on TV, during a tour of the Bellevue Hospital, defending his stewardship of the public-health sector. He arrogantly boasted about attending many international conferences and being involved in global conversations about universal health care.

This is laughable. I urge Dr Ferguson to wake up and smell the coffee. No amount of PR can mask the realities in the health sector, even at the Bellevue Hospital, which is in a state of crisis and incredible injustice is being meted out to a vulnerable and often-neglected group of Jamaicans.

The minister is clearly operating in the clouds and doesn't seem to yet have an appreciation of the problems besetting the entire public health system. Just recently, the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, the largest maternity hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean, ran out of water, forcing many of its employees to protest in disgust. This, Dr Ferguson, reflects on you as minister.

Just around the same time, the University Hospital of the West Indies pointed out that several of its operating theatres will have to be shut down because of air-conditioning problems. This, Dr Ferguson, reflects on you as minister.

And on top of this, there are cases everywhere of elevators breaking down, sterilisation services not being available, a major shortage of intravenous fluids, doctors, nurses and other health professionals getting their salaries and allowances short, not enough beds at some hospitals, lax security arrangements, management failings, overworked doctors and nurses, and on and on it goes.

Dr Ferguson is turning out to be Jamaica's worst minister of health. He clearly cannot manage and must do the honourable thing and resign now and let the Government quickly find someone who can 'tun dem hand mek fashion'.


Kingston 19