Our Readers' Opinions
November 17, 2015
Many blunders in NDP’s hospital plan

Editor: I read with amusement the NDP’s attempt to shift attention away from the blunder they made in their plan to replace the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) with a new building in East St George.

Daniel Cummings read from the inception section of a report given to the NDP by “an angel of a special kind.” This report was the result of work done by consultants to relocate the MCMH. The word “inception” means beginning and Mr Cummings wants us to think that information that was not delivered to the consultants in the beginning of their work wasn’t given throughout the study.{{more}}

And what was this missing information? Mr Cummings said the consultants needed data on socio, demographic, morbidity, mortality, referrals and the problem solving capacity of the health care services and that the Government refused to allow the consultants “to hear from you the people of this country, your concerns about health in this country, critical to the analysis of the problems to find solutions.”

Mr Cummings is unashamedly disingenuous. The data required by the consultants could only have been given by the professionals in the health system. The public could not answer those questions. His dishonesty is also apparent by the fact that the consultants were able to deliver a final report, which stated that Arnos Vale was the preferred site for the new referral hospital. This means the information from the health professionals was eventually given to the consultants without the survey.

So, we are back to square one. The NDP, in its manifesto, states that the MCMH is “is outdated and is located in an inappropriate location with no scope for expansion; it must be replaced… A convenient and central site has already been identified…” In August, however the Prime Minister announced that the Government would be building a new referral hospital at Arnos Vale, where the World Bank’s study said is the best site. The Prime Minister also announced that the MCMH will be reorganized to take advantage of the millions of dollars in improvements funded by the European Union and the World Pediatric Project. This means the ULP’s plan is to have two hospitals.

The angel of a special kind did not tell Mr Cummings that the MCMH will be converted to a 100-room hospital with over 20 services, to include a special children’s medical centre and an expanded Kingstown Clinic. His angel also did not tell him that the new referral hospital at Arnos Vale will have about 130 beds with 40 services, including improved cancer treatment and telemedicine. The ULP’s plan will actually increase the national hospital bed count from 210 to 230.

What Mr Cummings’s angel also did not tell him is that the flooding problem that was created by his NDP when it expanded the MCMH is going to be eliminated by drainage work that is part of the South Leeward Highway project currently underway. It is therefore clear to see that the plan by the NDP to close down the MCMH and build a new hospital somewhere in East St George is what is outdated.

Angel of a right mind