by Donella Hosten
President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachael Roberts, in a media briefing on Monday, 22 May 2017 publicly expressed the union’s disappointment in the manner in which Minister for Health, Hon Nickolas Steele handled the situation regarding the 3 babies who allegedly died at the General Hospital.
Approximately 3 weeks ago, information surfaced about the death of 3 babies at the General Hospital, and Hon Nickolas Steele addressed the nation about the issue. He said it was an unfortunate occurrence and stated that the health system failed the affected families. The minister also went on to say that he was awaiting an official report, which was to be at his desk by 12 May 2017. To date, this report has not surfaced.
Disappointed, Roberts openly condemned the minister’s statements as reflecting negatively on the doctors and nurses of the nation. “We see that the Minister of Health did not follow the procedure by the Death Review Committee,” which is the official committee put in place to investigate such matters.
Roberts said the minister clearly did not seek to obtain that report and failed to carry out a proper investigation, before addressing the public. “We see this again as being irresponsible.” She said his “comments should be made on empirical evidence and a proper investigation.”
Steele’s promise to have the report by 12 May 2017 undoubtedly failed and the PWU president chastised his actions, saying the “Public Workers Union was awaiting this report before we came to the media to make any comments.” She believes that the minister should have done the same, saying the comments were hasty, and he clearly did not consult with his medical professionals. “We see that the Minister for Health totally eroded the protocols of the Ministry of Health, and that of his Permanent Secretary who is responsible for the day to day operations of the ministry.”
“We believe that this matter is one that seems to want to appear to us to damage the image of our members,” Roberts added. “He took on his accord to prematurely make announcements that would be void of any investigative report.”
The PWU President is joining with offended health practitioners in requesting for Minister Steele “as a responsible minister to offer an apology to the health practitioners.”