THE opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is taking government to task over its plans for transitioning the operations of Victoria Hospital to the Owen King European Union Hospital.
Opposition leader Philip J Pierre Wednesday at a press conference held near the OKEU Hospital said government is handling the transition under a dark cloud of secrecy and under which healthcare decisions have been made.
“The manner in which the government has disregarded calls for transparency and consultation in its decisions about healthcare and operations of our healthcare facilities can only be described as disrespectful and outright arrogant,” said Pierre. “This attitude is most glaring in the government’s crude attacks on healthcare professionals who have expressed their concerns and offered advice. This behaviour is unprecedented in the history of our country.”
He said that the conditions under which healthcare professionals are expected to deliver optimal care to the public remains deplorable and inhumane to both healthcare providers and patients and that Victoria Hospital, like St. Jude Hospital, continues to operate in a manner unfit for purpose.
“In fact, on the issue of healthcare, the Government has assumed a totally callous, insensitive and dismissive posture in its engagement of the public throughout the approaching three years since it came into office,” Pierre said.
He added, “As we have stated before, the Saint Lucia Labour Party believes that quality and affordable healthcare is a basic human right as declared in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is therefore the responsibility of government to preserve and protect those rights for every citizen and in particular those who are most vulnerable among us. As a Party, we strongly believe that the provision of accessible and affordable public health care is the responsibility of government and should be under the control of government. It is a responsibility that must transcend party politics because people’s lives depend on it.”
The government is in the throes of transitioning from Victoria Hospital to the OKEU Hospital; however it is unclear when this transition will come into full effect. However certain services are already being offered at the new hospital such as dialysis.
Government is also in talks with Cayman Health City regarding the transition with no agreement having been reached as yet.