EDITOR: I consider myself to be a patriotic Vincentian who has lived abroad for several decades. I, like many of my fellow retirees, have always cherished the idea of returning to St. Vincent to spend our golden years. This has become for many of us a daunting prospect. The poor quality of St Vincent health care is often quoted as being the main reason.
Most of us retirees have good spending power. Our presence would bring huge economic benefit to the island. Yet due to this very important issue many people choose not to return.
Recent reports are not only distressing, but in this the 21st century appalling.
1. A woman giving birth on a hospital bench, the baby falling to the floor with the umbilical cord still attached.
2. Relatively fit young persons admitted to the Milton Cato Memorial hospital with the simple common condition of gallstones, were so badly managed that they developed complications which resulted in their deaths,
3. A woman in the throes of death had been declared to be doing well by the doctor in charge of her care.
4. Basic medicines are often not available in the hospital.
5. A vital diagnostic equipment broken and out of service for a prolonged period of time.
These cases pose serious questions for the department of health
It would appear that:
1. There are no professional bodies governing the doctors and nurses who work in St. Vincent health care.
2. No code of conduct, no professional standards.
3 No opportunities or provisions for the continuing education of nurses and doctors.
3. Documentations are often poor and sketchy that they will not stand up to scrutiny.
4. The sharing of knowledge and skills between practitioners are vital tools which sadly seems to be lacking.
These are some of the basic protocols that underpin a robust Health care system. A system which fails to adopt and implement these principles negates the right to effective and efficient health care.
It should be noted that poor and underprivileged Vincentians are the ones who suffer most. As these are the people who could ill-afford to seek medical treatment abroad.
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. (W.H.O Human Rights Day 2017)
Research in the world of medicine is moving at a rapid speed. Medical knowledge is continually updated. St. Vincent health care seems to be stuck in a stagnant time warp, and at times appears to be regressing.