BASSETERRE, ST KITTS – Former Health Minister Dr Earl Asim Martin is laying the blame of the “horror stories in the health sector” at the feet of the Minister of Health, Hon Eugene Hamilton and the Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Sen. the Hon. Wendy Phipps.
He said the open power struggle between ministers Hamilton and Phipps is widely known with both not speaking to each other and the quality of healthcare at health institutions has deteriorated.
“This has basically affected the overall management of the health sector and this is compounded by the appointment of two permanent secretaries for health with one functioning in the Ministry of Health and the other out of the Office of the Prime Minister,” Dr .Martin told listeners to “Issues” on Wednesday.
He said during his recent visit to the J N France General Hospital it was “complaints and complaints, not only from patients, but also from the health care providers, who state that the health sector lacks leadership.”
“Nurses are retiring at an early age and going into other areas to work. It is a serious problem of attrition within the health sector which we can least afford at this critical time of our development and it goes to the need for leadership in health,” said Dr. Martin.
“Our people see no hope, no advancement and the group of persons that suffers the most are the patients,” said Dr Martin who condemned a recent public statement by Sen. Phipps in which she referred to nurses as “thieves.”
“There are very good nurses in this sector, but because of the management and leadership the overall delivery of proper healthcare is compromised and has become dysfunctional like other ministries in the Federal Government, which is affecting the quality of healthcare and the economy,” said Dr. Martin.
Another former health minister, Hon. Marcella Liburd recently said the health sector is at its worst state ever and suggested that millions of dollars to refurbish the Strip at Frigate Bay could be used to resources for the lab, drugs and other well needed supplies to improve the health and well being of the patients at the J N France General Hospital and other medical institutions.