It is really a concern when the Prime Minister refuses to see and acknowledge the glaring realities that citizens and staff are faced with on a daily basis in the public healthcare system.
Dr. Rowley chastised the citizenry on Monday at the opening of the Ministry of Health’s new administrative building in Port of Spain. He opined that citizens are ungrateful, shouldn’t complain, and that the public healthcare system in this country is “better than most and better than many.”
In an immediate response to the utterings of the Prime Minister, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association, Mr. Idi Stuart, said that there are glaring deficits in the system. He also said that the Prime Minister’s comments showed that he was insulated from the real experience at hospitals.
Mr. Stuart also said that whilst healthcare is free at public health institutions in Trinidad and Tobago, the quality is not up to the standard that citizens deserve.
It would seem as though the Prime Minister, and his government, is content to bury their collective heads in the sand and pretend that all is well in this country.
He, along with the Minister of Health, seem to be blissfully unaware of the long waiting times for clinic appointments, the long waiting times for surgeries, the lack of medicines and other basic supplies, the lack of maintenance of critical medical equipment, issues regarding employment and terms and conditions of doctors and nurses, poor nurse to patient ratio, and the list goes on and on.
I am sure that the Prime Minister remembers, and have taken note of, the protest by nurses who took to the streets of Port of Spain recently to highlight their concerns and long-standing issues which ultimately impact negatively on patients’ care. This is a serious matter that ought not to be trivialised by this government.
The Prime Minister also needs to ask his Minister of Health some serious questions. Some of these include: Why are there no cataract surgeries being undertaken at the San Fernando General Hospital for the past 2 months? What is the delay in getting phacoemulsification machines for the hospital? Additionally, now that the Covid19 pandemic is over, why are state of the art equipment (CT and MRI scanners) at the Couva Hospital not being made available to citizens?
The Prime Minister has to be honest with himself as to the current state of the public healthcare system. He needs to stop berating and bullying citizens and fix the system so that those who access public health services are given the proper treatment and care that they are entitled to.