Opposition Leader and team visit St. Anns Bay Hospital

Opposition Leader and team visit St. Anns Bay Hospital

KINGSTON, Jamaica: September 4, 2021 - While Prime Minister Andrew Holness was visiting selected vaccination centres, Opposition Leader Mark J. Golding and a team on Friday took the opportunity to respond to concerns regarding working conditions and the state of the island's  health facilities, by visiting the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital where he did  a wellness check and delivered masks and other supplies to the staff at the institution.

The Opposition Leader was accompanied by Shadow Ministers of Health and Wellness Dr. Morais Guy as well as the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for South East St Ann Ms Lisa Hanna.

The Wellness check at the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital confirmed reports from healthcare workers and patients of a strained healthcare system as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic worsens. 

Leader of the Opposition, PNP President Mark GoldingLeader of the Opposition, PNP President Mark GoldingThey observed that over 50 staff members were  not at work because of Covid-19 constraints, and nurses were finding it difficult to cope with a nurse to patient ratio of 1:15. In addition, many were finding it difficult to travel to work during lockdowns as majority of them relied on public trasportation. 

Health Spokesman Dr. Morais Guy said, “What we saw at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital underscores the need to immediately implement the suggestion made by Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Julian Robinson, to use surplus funds to improve conditions at healthcare facilities island-wide.”

In his presentation at the PNP's media conference on Friday, August 20, Robinson highlighted that the Government had ended up with a surplus of $9 billion having spent $7.5 billion less than it projected. These funds he argued, should be used to strengthen our capacity to respond to the worsened pandemic and help make life easier for our vulnerable groups.

Senior Member of Parliament in the parish, Lisa Hanna, said St. Ann’s Bay Hospital was very critical to the welfare and wellbeing of residents and so the Government needed to put resources in place to ensure the facility is able to adequately cater to residents.

The Opposition Leader reiterated sentiments shared by both representatives and again called on the Government to take action to safeguard the physical and mental health of our healthcare workers as they face unprecedented challenges.

He said, “It is concerning that some 99% of the Covid-19 patients at St Ann's Bay Hospital are unvaccinated. The team and I are recommitting our support of the vaccination programme, and encourage every Jamaican who is able, to get vaccinated and continue to observe Covid-19 protocols.”  

Earlier this week, the PNP called for the resignation of Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, pointing out that"during our 3rd and most deadly wave of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Wellness failed to meet the needs of hospitals and clinics islandwide."

Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais GuyOpposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais GuyThe PNP said "since March 2020, over fifteen hundred (1500) Jamaicans have died from SARS-Cov-2. Many of these deaths could have been prevented had the government put in place proper measures to lower the number of cases, enhance healthcare infrastructure and mitigate some of the effects of the globally devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

"Recommendations for fever clinics, home and early Covid management protocols have fallen on deaf ears, and this has led to many in the population being unable to access health care for non-COVID -19 conditions. This again is a dereliction of the duty of care to the population. 

"The Government must take responsibility for the result of their mishandling of the pandemic. The Minister of Health must be held accountable for the poor management of the pandemic, which has caused the loss of life of scores of loved ones. Many of the lives lost over the weekend could have been prevented. 

"In light of the discord in the public domain regarding the procurement of oxygen, the Ministry of Health is the office with responsibility for ensuring that sufficient supplies are available for our hospitals. Ultimately, the Minister of Health has failed. We cannot continue to accept failure after failure at the detriment of our citizens. 

"The Minister must resign. It is in the best interest of the country that Minister Tufton be removed from this portfolio for his repeated failures and inability to effectively perform the duties of his office. The people of Jamaica deserve better, they deserve a chance at life, the PNP declared"

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