CHAIRMAN of the Public Hospitals Authority Frank Smith yesterday criticised FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis’ “attack” on the Princess Margaret Hospital, saying the Killarney MP is using his office to “gain cheap political mileage” out of “unfortunate” circumstances.
His comments came a day after Dr Minnis condemned the “deplorable” situation at PMH’s Critical Care Block on Sunday, saying malfunctioning air-conditioning units had delayed surgeries for two weeks.
Yesterday, Mr Smith said three of the four malfunctioning air-conditioning units at the Critical Care Block were restored as of 1pm yesterday, while the remaining unit should be working by the end of this week.
In a statement released Monday evening, Mr Smith said that the compressors needed for the units had to be ordered from overseas because no local vender could fill the order. Prime Minister Perry Christie has said the units were affected by power surges after electricity outages.
“The replacement compressors are now due to arrive in the Bahamas within the next few days and will be installed with secondary UPS to mitigate against any future power surges,” Mr Smith said.
“What becomes unconscionably clear in these developments though, is to see how the present leader of the opposition, Dr Hubert Minnis, in his attack on the Health Systems Strengthening Programme at the Princess Margaret Hospital, has begun to use his office in a desperate attempt to gain cheap political mileage from these unfortunate circumstances.
“Dr Minnis should recall the state he left many vulnerable areas of healthcare under the Ingraham administration. Under his watch he left the maternity section of the hospital, a department in which he practised for many years, in the worst state ever and under deplorable conditions which has been the hallmark of his legacy as minister.
“What Dr Minnis has failed to show is that he is yet to accept the winds of change under the present government. Dr Minnis has aligned himself with those who seek not to have universal healthcare advanced for the ordinary Bahamian. He will once again be found on the wrong side of history.
“Today major reforms under Health Systems Strengthening are underway at the Princess Margaret Hospital and its sister institution the Rand Memorial Hospital and clinics in Grand Bahama where only today (Monday) two contracts were executed in our ongoing journey to make our health system better for the Bahamian people.”
On Sunday, Dr Minnis, the former minister of health, also urged the government to delay planned upgrades to PMH’s Maternity Ward, due to fears that patients will be negatively affected.
He claimed hospital officials were not listening to doctors’ concerns about the matter.
However, Mr Smith said the PHA will not do anything without proper consultation. “The interim renovations for PMH are part of the PHA and the government’s master plan for the total phased in upgrade of this nation’s most iconic healthcare institution,” Mr Brown added. “The government of the Bahamas and the PHA cannot and will not allow Bahamians who must use that facility to be exposed to such an unacceptable standard while we await the overall master plan to be completed. In this regard, we wish to assure the Bahamian people that the temporary relocation will only be done after extensive discussions with nurses, doctors and other care givers; and the Bahamian people can hold us to that pledge.
“Already, the authority has discovered that the interim relocation would further prove beneficial to the Maternity Ward and its patients as the department would be in closer proximity to the primary ambulance entry to the hospital. Patients requiring speciality services such as C-sections would also be closer in proximity to the Critical Care Block and the operating theatres,” Mr Smith said.