Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is calling on the new Tobago Regional Health Authority chairman Ingrid Melville to do more to improve the quality of health throughout the island.
Melville was appointed as the TRHA chairman for 2018-2020 last Thursday morning at the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, Glen Road Scarborough.
During his feature address Charles said, “truth be told there is a quality issue and I as chief secretary am not satisfied that enough is being done to ensure that basic protocols are scrupulously followed. There are too many deaths that can be avoided in my respectful view. I’m of the view that if we do not come to the realization that we are not operating at the level that we ought to we will not improve.”
Ingrid who previously held the position of deputy chairman, served on the board since 2014. At the end of the board’s 2016-2018 tenure in May Ingrid said TRHA’s financial constraints was the major reason for the stunt growth in the authority.
For this year the TRHA is currently operating with a deficit of $44 million. This was reported by the previous board five months into the year at the TRHA/Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Public Accountability consultation t at the Calder Hall Multipurpose Facility, after having received an allocation of $230 million; the board reported a cash expenditure of $224 million in May.
The TRHA said it’s hoping to generate funds using its cafeteria at the Scarborough General Hospital as a profit centre, commercialising its laundry services and move to charge a fee for non-national clients to access services outside of emergency care at the hospital.
There were also concerns raised by a number of nurses about a lack of jobs opportunities at TRHA. The nurses were asked by a former director at TRHA, June Melville, to keep an open mind and leave Tobago to seek employment opportunities elsewhere if there are no vacancies.
There were also issues with payment of salaries last September, 2017 where Public Servant Association (PSA) President Watson Duke promised to take serious action against TRHA after they announced that September salaries would be delayed and as such, payments would not be available until October 6th. This affected 1,532 staff members.
Additionally in February 2018, members at TRHA staff based at the authority’s headquarters in Doretta Court, Mt Marie were asked to vacate the premises after it was reported that the authority failed to pay four months’ rent.
However Melville said during her time on the board, particularly between 2016-2018 she was able to refurbish the Accident and Emergency waiting area, installed a new water dialysis unit at the Scarborough Health Centre and buy 50 new hospital beds.
At her appointment as chairman, last Thursday Melville said the appointment is a great moment of honor for her. Melville promised Tobagonians not to disappoint but to deliver results. “We will deliver excellence in health care in Tobago, we acknowledge and we take onboard the challenges of each task. We will not disappoint we will actualize the expectations which has been voiced. I know our leaders and the people of Tobago expect and demand no less. We will adhere and we will build on what our predecessor board laid as a foundation.”
Ingrid also promised transparency especially when dealing with reports conducted.