The two Members of the Opposition Bench are not in agreement with changes to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre Amendment Bill 2021, which seeks to give the Minister of Health more input in the day-to-day operations of the hospital.
In Parliament on Tuesday, May 2, the mover of the Bill, Sir Molwyn Joseph, described the amendments as simple and minor, addressing policy directives made by the Minister on the daily management of the facility.
Joseph said the hospital was conceptualized to be run and managed by a private company. However, since this is no longer the case, the Ministry of Health now plays a greater role in its operation, he said.
The Minister reported on a number of shortcomings at the medical facility that he, himself, had to take a hands-on approach to address.
He spoke about going to the hospital unannounced and seeing piles of used medical equipment discarded in an unsafe manner, and even of having to change and refill hand-sanitizer dispensers.
However, the Opposition Leader and MP for All Saints East and St. Luke, Jamale Pringle, took issue with the section of the Bill that allows the Minister to direct the Board.
Earlier in his presentation, Joseph accused the United Progressive Party Administration of failing to ensure that proper treatment was dispensed at the hospital. However, Pringle reminded him of a recent case in which a young man was discharged from Mount St. John with a knife blade still embedded in his back.
Meanwhile, MP for Barbuda Trevor Walker also took issue with that section of the Bill.
Walker said the current Administration should allow technicians in the various departments and ministries to do their work, and not have the Ministers micro-manage operations.
It appears that the Gaston Browne Administration is seeking to put the hospital under its direct management – as was the case with the Holberton Hospital – Walker said.