Inniss ready to take on WalcottMinister of Health Donville Inniss (FP)
By Barry Alleyne | Thu, June 14, 2012 - 12:02 AM
Name the place and time for a debate on health care in Barbados.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss has promised he’ll be there.
He yesterday blasted his predecessor Dr Jerome Walcott for misleading the public regarding the alleged death of an infant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Hospital (QEH), as well as the state of equipment and accessories at the country’s largest state-owned medical facility.
Last Sunday, during a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political meeting, Walcott dared Inniss to call a Press conference and explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged death of a toddler in the QEH’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit due to a lack of ventilator machines on the ward.
“I’m not aware of any baby dying at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital because of a lack of ventilators,” Inniss said in defence of the Martindales Road institution yesterday.
Not in public
“I don’t know where Jerome Walcott got his information from, but I certainly won’t be discussing the health care or condition of any patient in Barbados,
in the public domain. It is a nasty thing for any minister or former minister to comment publicly about the health or death of any individual,” the outspoken Inniss told the DAILY NATION yesterday.
He made it clear that at no time would the QEH have a truly “full complement” of equipment to cater to every single department, but flatly denied that a power failure occurred last week, as claimed by Walcott, or that many of the facility’s elevators were in a state of disrepair.
“No department can be adequately resourced at all times but this Government can be proud of the work done at the QEH, no matter what anyone in the BLP says.
“Over the last two years, through a $35 million loan from the National Insurance Scheme, we completed a full electrical upgrade and bought millions of dollars in equipment. We will continue to make improvements. It’s an ongoing process,” Inniss countered.
Adding that work on a new Medical Intensive Care Unit had started and that two operating theatres would also be added to the hospital’s Eye Care Centre, as well as increased facilities to improve cardiovascular surgeries, the minister said because it was now the “silly season”, BLP operatives were in full mode to mislead the Barbadian electorate.
“But I will not let anyone fool the public. We’ve resuscitated health care in Barbados in the three years since we took office. I’m willing to meet Jerome Walcott any place, any time for a public debate on health care in Barbados. I won’t back down. I have nothing to hide.”
The minister added that as a former Minister of Health and consultant surgeon at the QEH, Walcott should know better.
“He left the hospital in such a mess he didn’t expect this administration would be able to do more, and do with less resources,” Inniss boasted.
The minister was also criticized by Walcott for being involved in every small business in his department, such as last week when Inniss was on hand at Furniture Limited in Bridgetown when inspectors from the Environmental Health Department closed the store because of health concerns.
Inniss made it clear that he would not be changing the way he did business as minister.
“I am not a minister who seeks to accommodate a select few in Barbados. I will continue to do my best for the masses of this country. I’m not here to do anyone favours. I will give my health inspectors all the support they need, and more,” Inniss concluded.
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