Front Page
May 7, 2010
Fitz Jones replaced as Hospital Administrator

A new man heads the administrative affairs of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), “an area targeted for critique.”{{more}}

Cuthbert Knights, of the Ministry of Health Central Administration, headed to the MCMH on Monday, May 3, 2010, to act as Hospital Administrator. This was confirmed by Minister of Health and Environment, Dr. Douglas Slater, on Tuesday, one day after Knights’ appointment took effect.

This latest move by Government brings an end to Fitz Jones’ tenure as Acting Hospital Administrator (MCMH), which was characterized by much public criticism over the past two years.

Minister Slater confirmed that Jones has been transferred to another department of Government but couldn’t recall his exact position.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that Jones has been transferred to the Public Sector Reform Unit.

The last person to be appointed hospital administrator was Pamela Bonadie, who retired in 2005 after serving in the position for 21 years. Jones was one of two persons who has acted in the position since Bonadie’s retirement.

Slater told SEARCHLIGHT Jones performance was satisfactory.

“We are listening to the public.We really have been trying for years to try to get people to understand that hospital management is not as straight forward as they perceive it,” said Slater, adding there are things that take place at the hospital which are not as simple as critics may think. As a result of this, people comment about things that they don’t know and “blame is thrown all about,” said Slater.

“I think to some extent, Mr. Jones may have received some of those unwarranted criticisms,” Slater stated, adding, whether Jones deserved it is another question.

The Minister of Health expressed that there are some who think that certain issues of management did not go as well as they might have wanted under Jones’ leadership, but he will not make a judgement on that.

“I think Mr. Jones tried his best and he has done quite a few things,” said Slater, noting that Jones was the one who raised the issue of pilfering at the hospital and was heavily criticised for it.

Endorsing Knights’ appointment, Slater expressed that the Government is optimistic he has what it takes to handle the job before him.

Before this new assignment, Knights was a Senior Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health and had held various posts in that ministry including Acting Hospital Administrator last year over a period of several weeks when Jones was on leave.

Meanwhile, Slater said he recently heard “a big song and dance” about a leak in the hospital as if that leak prevented the delivery of heath care.

“If it were a simple leak, it would have been sorted out. Unfortunately it isn’t simple,” said Slater, explaining it is an engineering problem the Government is facing a challenge in resolving.

He said this stems from joining a century old building to a new structure.

“I have been told by the experts there are some design flaws. We inherited them. We never made it an issue before, but it is amazing that people are now making it an issue,” said Slater.

He noted in as much as the problems exist, healthcare is hardly affected by the leak.

The minister disclosed that some adjustments have been made to the service of the Operating Theatre, but no one in St.Vincent and the Grenadines has been affected by access to the facility.

He said elective surgeries have been rescheduled for that and various other reasons, but emergencies have been covered.

“A leak in a hospital, though undesirable, is really not a very pivitol or critical aspect of healthcare delivery,” Slater exclaimed.