Health Authority of
Last night the Minister of Health held an interview with Ras B on Heart Beat Radio. Interestingly, he did it on the condition that no calls be accepted from listeners. What is disturbing is that the Minister went on to make statements regarding the outgoing Health Authority Board and the Health Authority that demonstrate either a shameful ignorance of the purpose, structure and operations of the Authority, or another deliberate attempt by a politician to mislead the people.
The Health Authority legislation was carefully constructed as a model for future legislation regarding statutory bodies. Gordon Carnegie had many sleepless nights. He made sure that
The Board is required to have 7 members – one representing medical, one nursing, one business, one finance, one human resources, and two representing the public interest. The Board also has four supporting committees to advise it.
Each Committee has two members of the board as chair and deputy chair, and includes executive managers of the Authority and other private and public sector persons with the particular expertise. All of those 4 committees meet every month and report to the board on a monthly basis. The four committees are: The Patient Care and Quality Services Committee – headed by the medical member of the board included doctors from the private sector (like Dr. Paige) and doctors and senior nursing personnel from within the authority. This committee looks at the medical and patient care issues, including complaints from the public. It also worked on the diagnostics – (the public should not be deceived by the Minister's attempt to indicate that this was being ignored.) This committee provided guidance for the board on all medical matters and was headed for the first 3 years of operation by Dr. Brett Hodge, with Nurse Yvonne Rey as co-chair until the end of their term in December. It was on the recommendations of this committee that the Board implemented the diagnostic changes in the Authority.
Nurse Rey was also chairperson of the Nursing committee which advised the board on all nursing matters. When Dr. Hodge and Nurse Rey ended their term, the Minister for six months failed to appoint their replacements. In essence, he "starved" the Board of this vital expertise. For six months a board which should have 7 members was forced to operate with only 4.
The other committees were the Finance and Audit and Human Resources committees, which were set up similarly to the other committees. The board also created a Dispute and Grievance Resolution committee to assist staff who may have issues that could not be solved within the system.
The Human Resources committee assisted the human resources department with policies, recruitment and training decisions. I am appalled that the Minister told the public on radio last night displayed that the human resources department needed restructuring. This is an insult to Mrs. Meridith Gumbs, the human resources manager who literally worked day and night to ensure that the department was one of the most professionally organized in the public and private sector. The minister seems to be judging or damning the authority based on the need for customer service training, but if the truth were to be told Meridith Gumbs had several training sessions for the staff. Coincidentally, the same person that Meridith had looking after the training needs of the Authority, was the person that the minister took to study the "customer service" needs of the authority.
The Health Authority was set up to allow for input from inside and outside the Authority. The Board does not arbitrarily or high handedly make decisions. All this is public knowledge as the Authority published all this information very early in its operations. All sectors of the authority had to give quarterly accounts - The minister, the ministry and public were kept informed.
The people should know, in fact someone should tell the Minister that there is a difference between governance and operations. The board governs, the CEO and the managers carry out the established policy. The CEO does not have to go to the Board to buy a light bulb for the Operating Theatre. The empowerment of the lower levels is to cut out bureaucracy and make sure that the service is efficient. This is why Mr. Eric Reid OBE worked so hard to establish a Health Authority.
People are tired of hearing the Minister claim to be such a health professional. As a minister of government he should be looking at governance and regulation of the authority – his experience as a med tech does not give him the knowledge or experience to run the health authority or override the national health plan which was developed by health experts, health professionals and the people of
The government needs to pay serious attention to the social development. The recent events point to that. The government should be concerned that one of the most qualified health professionals in the region, Mr Foster Rogers, is working in the Chief Minister's office and not in health – the minister did not want him – Why did Orris Proctor resign? – the minister frustrated him. Why was it such a fight to get the well-qualified Dr. Bonnie Lake to be appointed as PS Health? Why is she now sidelined by the Minister? Why are there so many proposals or plans from the Health authority and other social development departments lying unattended on the Minister's desk for a year or more? The ministry of health needs a serious check up.
Well, what do you make of this situation?