Former health Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh says Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh must take full responsibility for the deaths of hundreds because of gross negligence. He said over $32 billion has been allocated over the past four and a half years to the health sector with nothing to show for it.
Speaking on Friday morning at a news conference at his office, Broome Street, St Clair, Gopeesingh said Government must be condemned for mismanagement by incompetence.
“Over the past four and a half years the citizens of TT have endured an exponential deterioration in the public health sector in morbidity and mortality and numerous preventable deaths. The collapse of the primary health care system, which is the bedrock for health care, has resulted in widespread suffering for chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
“There has been overcrowding and accident and emergency departments at public hospitals, with unacceptable waiting times, lying on trolleys, all because of insufficient medical resources and non-functioning diagnostic equipment.”
SHORTAGE OF DOCTORS
Gopeesingh said despite there being hundreds of trained TT nationals – doctors, nurses, technicians – there was still a severe shortage of these resources in hospitals. He said the closure of the central block at the Port of Spain General Hospital has to led to thousands of citizens of north and west Trinidad, close to 400,000, being deprived of efficient, acceptable health care.
“This Government has steadfastly refused to put the Couva Hospital to optimal use.The minister, who is a stranger to the Hippocratic Oath of the medical profession, appears to be greatly confused and nonplussed of a diplomatic collapse in our health care system, and in the delivery of basic and life saving services.”
He said Government and Deyalsingh must be condemned for their “grave and unacceptable mismanagement of the health sector and their serious incompetence.”
Gopeesingh said on November 20, 2019, on a television morning show, Deyalsingh chided the media when questioned why the state-of-the-art Couva Hospital was not being put into proper use.
“He introduced red herrings and indulged in his typical pomposity, instead of telling taxpayers why the Couva Hospital has been largely abandoned, even when the health sector is in a comatose and critical condition. The fact that this facility has been left abandoned for over four years is one of the most wretched scandals of this regime.
“The minister shamelessly said that the hospital had been used for radiologic investigation and as a pharmacy.” Gopeesingh said the facility had been built for full-scale adult care, complete clinical services, 80 beds for paediatric, 150 for adult patients, with departments and services for diagnostic imaging, surgery, burns and plastic critical care.
There was also adequate faciltiies for training in medicine, nursing and optometry for undergraduates and postgraduates. “This pharmacist-turned-health minister is guilty of presiding over the virtual destruction of the taxpayer-funded medical sector and the deaths and suffering of thousands of patients.”
NOTHING IN HEALTH
He said Deyalsingh’s announcement that the hospital could not be opened because of a shortage of medical staff was a lie, as there were over 1,000 nurses and 300-400 doctors awaiting employment. He said the minister then said the hospital was going to operate as a public/private partnership, but that never happened.
“Then they said they would give it to the University of the West Indies (UWI). They took a $2 billion institution, and because they owed UWI $200 million for what(ever) reason, they decided to give Couva Hospital to UWI. “The UWI has never even run a parlour – what are they going to do with that institution?
“Four and a half years have gone and nothing has happened with it.” When contacted to respond to Gopeesingh’s accusations, Deyalsingh said he would answer when Gopeesingh produces the evidence that there is a raging controversy about flu vaccines, then he will take Gopeesingh seriously.
“Also when he says how $1.6 million were lost from the North Central RHA in 2001. Ask who was the chairman under whose watch that happened. Also, why could he not bring down maternal and infant mortality rates?
“We did it. We also fixed CDAP. (Dr) Fuad (Khan) is on record as telling patients to buy CDAP drugs when he was minister. Why didn’t he build a new central block where lives were in danger? We are doing it.”