HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has criticised the decision of the St Augustine Private Hospital (SAPH) to discontinue dialysis services because of outstanding payment as “callous.”
He was responding to a question in the Senate yesterday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on what was being done after the treatment of dialysis patients at the hospital was stopped because of an outstanding debt of $2.3 million. Deyalsingh said when this came to his attention on Sunday afternoon he issued instructions for all 37 patients to be reassigned to other dialysis centres, and this was done on Monday. He said he did not have the names of the centres, but a silver lining was that some of the patients had been sent to centres closer to their homes.
“I want to compliment the other dialysis centres whose philosophy is more aligned to the Ministry of Health when it comes to patient care. They gleefully and willingly accepted the 37 patients, both in private dialysis centres and the public healthcare system. So no dialysis will be discontinued; they are already receiving their dialysis.”
He said in September 2018, $1.4 million was paid to SAPH and from October 2018 to June 6, 2019, $1.2 million was paid. “The outstanding amount of $2 million will be paid in the shortest possible time.” Deyalsingh said two years ago Government took a decision to “beef up” dialysis delivery at the RHAs and this has been done. He reported the Couva medical facility, which will be open next month for radiological services, will have a “massive” dialysis centre and will be a flagship centre.
“So we will rely less and less on the private sector for provision of dialysis services.” He said there are 1,100 patients on dialysis and it cost the State $78 million to pay the private sector for treatment for them. Calls to St Augustine Private Hospital yesterday went unanswered.