“BARBADOS ADRIFT”#1 – PRESS CONFERENCE WITH HON MIA AMOR MOTTLEY Q.C., M.P. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION & POLITICAL LEADER OF THE BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY
“There is an alarming sense that Barbados is dangerously adrift.
“The country is facing very clear and difficult economic problems that in and of themselves are sufficient to occupy our full attention and energy. That we should now be distracted to deal with a number of issues that affect the access to healthcare by Barbadians and the quality of our governance is disturbing.
“I refer specifically to the decision by the QEH Board in respect of the dismissal of consultant physicians and the termination of the Chairman of National Housing Corporation. There is a deafening silence from both of the Ministers responsible for these entities — the Minister of Health and the Minister of Housing.
“The news on Friday of the dismissal of one consultant physician and the attempt to dismiss another from the QEH is but another episode in the sad saga of the harassment and persecution of healthcare workers at all levels at the QEH. A few months ago it was temporary workers and the NUPW is still battling this issue on their behalf. Now it is the consultant physicians. BAMP has announced industrial action and that it will only handle emergency cases until this matter is properly resolved.
“Barbadians need the assurance that they can access quality health care. They do not want to be at the centre of industrial disputes or quarrels when they are sick. They want simply to be treated. The QEH Board must be made aware that whatever action it wants to take, it cannot do so in a manner that jeopardizes patient care. Reports that a consultant physician was effectively denied access for 2 days to his patients, some of whom were operated on this week, are shocking and unconscionable.
“To refuse to renew contracts for doctors who have been employed for more than 2 decades without giving reasons or having warning letters on their files must inevitably lead to controversy. To seek to dismiss your only urologist when he had filed legal proceedings of which they were aware (and when he is on call until August and is rostered until the end of September) is to ignore the needs of your patients and to be contemptuous of the Court. To do so while in the middle of industrial negotiations with BAMP on this issue is deplorable. These decisions defy common sense and the basic tenets of sound administrative and industrial practice. However, they also place at risk the care of your patients whose only interest is to get better.
I am appalled that in the middle of a medical crisis that the Minister of Health left Barbados yesterday for a vacation –a Mediterranean cruise. Therefore, the Acting Prime Minister must seek to have this situation resolved as a matter of urgency and have the Minister return to Barbados and defer his vacation. Barbadians know that a patient can be in pain and in serious need of treatment without their case being categorized as an emergency. However, they will not understand why they must be the victims of this industrial impasse triggered by the precipitous and reckless decisions of the Board.