Fri | Nov 26, 2021

Reality of public-health sector

Published:Thursday | July 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM


A letter to the Editor by Ms Suzette Thompson in Wednesday's Gleaner (30/07/14) accused me and other Jamaicans of being cynics because of mounting criticism of Dr Fenton Ferguson's poor leadership of our public-health sector and his ridiculous talk of making Jamaica the health hub of the region.

I remind Ms Thompson of the reality in our public-health sector. Many of our hospitals are run-down, lack equipment, are low on staff, face low staff morale, lack basic medical supplies, have horrendous wait hours, have poor security arrangements, and are ridden with complex and unnecessary bureaucracy, with some virtually unable to function effectively. Many of the problems faced can be directly traced to the health minister, who, since getting the post, seems confused and out of his depth as to what to do about our glaring health-sector challenges.

Just recently, the Victoria Jubilee Hospital was out of water, despite being a emergency centre and probably the biggest maternity hospital in the Caribbean. Additionally, the University Hospital had to shut down several operating theatres because of problems with the air conditioning system. The Bellevue Hospital is a drain on the public purse, and several hospitals have run out of some very basic medical supplies. These are issues that good management would have probably prevented. Instead, Ferguson is focused on big pipe dreams like making Jamaica a health hub.

It is time for Dr Ferguson and other guilty government ministers to focus on the basics; address those first, and then move to build over time a great health system with the limited resources we have.

Dara Johnson