25 Feb Opposition chides Minister of Health for delay in addressing issues at Cornwall Regional Hospital
Opposition Spokesman on Health, Horace Dalley has condemned the delay in action to address the noxious fumes at the Cornwall Regional Hospital as inhumane and a dereliction of duty by the Minister of Health.
The fumes have been affecting the patients and staff at this major hospital in Western Jamaica since September 2016, (six months ago), and it is just now that Minister Christopher Tufton has sought a comprehensive assessment to determine the true status of this hospital, and to find out it will take six months to fix. Mr. Dalley laments that “Minister Tufton has taken six month to recognize the gravity of the situation and has just assembled a team to rectify this crisis.”
While the patients and staff have been experiencing the skin, eye and respiratory symptoms, the Minister has downplayed the severity of this situation, painted a picture as if everything is ok. This speaks to how disengaged and disingenuous the Minister of Health is with the critical issues of health in Jamaica.
Mr. Dalley says “The Minister of Health continues his high-handed approach of not consulting with the critical stakeholders in health, instead he from afar has tried to PR the situation, to fool the people of Jamaica.”
While Minister Tufton suggests that all is well, the patients of Western Jamaica suffer, with displaced clinics, absent diagnostics and ailing and absent medical staff.
Mr. Dalley is noting the absence of the voices of Chief Medical Officer and the Environmental Officer of Health during this crisis. The Minister has sidelined these critical technical officers to carry on his public relations campaign.
The aloof approach of the Minister of Health has caused many staff members at Cornwall Regional Hospital to shy away from speaking of the issues. Mr. Dalley thinks this is due to fear of victimization.
The Opposition thanks the staff at the hospital for their commitment to the health of the country in the face of adversity.
Mr. Dalley is calling for the clear disclosure of the true status of the effect of the fumes on all the floors at Cornwall Regional Hospital, and stands with the staff in calling for a short, medium and long term plan that will remedy the situation and not compromise the health of the staff and patients.
Mr. Dalley states that after careful assessment of all the factors affecting Cornwall Regional Hospital, the Minister of Health and the senior management at this hospital have been derelict in their duties to the Jamaican people.