An Unhealthy Situation


THE state of the nation’s health is under close observation.

The government’s handling of matters pertaining to the Saint Jude Hospital reconstruction project and the Owen King-European Union (OKEU) new national hospital is also being closely observed – and by friends and critics alike.

Saint Lucia’s Medical and Dental Association and prominent local architects experienced in building multiple health facilities here, have, jointly and separately, kicked and raised hell over the related issues.

European Union (EU) officials are said to be similarly outraged by the Saint Lucia government’s announced intention to privatize the OKEU hospital.

The gravity of the situation in the Saint Jude case cannot be better amplified than by the resignation of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Ulric Mondesir, as of May 1, 2018.

The OKEU hospital is subject to allegations denied regarding flexing of offshore muscles by persons outside the national medical and health jurisdiction, including countering government instructions regarding transfer of Victoria Hospital services to the new entity.

The tremendous amount of doublespeak doesn’t help either. Some serious allegations are denied, only to be later confirmed. Government technocrats and professionals naturally contradict the political operatives making and taking the important related decisions.

But in the midst of it all, as the doctors have so loudly pointed out, people are dying because they aren’t getting the best care.

Unfortunately, handling of national health issues has been so politicized over such a long time that partisan considerations continue to determine national decisions.

But this is not a time for politicians to wield The Big Stick at professionals. Instead, it’s a time for simple but important questions to be answered.

The questions abound on political platforms and across social media. But people don’t feel well about the different and differing answers.

Yet, a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will fit each question:

Is there a plan to abandon and replace the halted Saint Jude Hospital project?

Has an overseas-based private hospital corporation been assigned any responsibilities at the OKEU hospital?

The answers will inform the nation as to whether to hold its collective breath, or to happily exhale.

Meanwhile, it does not help the government when loquacious politicians roundly attack professionals and unfairly accuse them of being opposition operatives.

The nation needs an urgent health check-up and the ultimate decision-makers should move quickly to address the major issues and offer real explanation, answers and assurances.

This is all about the health of all Saint Lucians and should not be allowed to descend any further into depths of partisan despair. Instead, the politicians must both talk and listen.

The state of the nation’s health is too unhealthy to be ignored. It needs urgent attention — and intensive care!

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