PLP senator blasts govt. on healthcare

PLP senator blasts govt. on healthcare
Senator Dr Michael Darville

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Senator Dr Michael Darville yesterday lambasted the Minnis administration over the administration of health care services on storm-ravaged islands.

Darville, the opposition’s shadow minister for health, urged the government to “get to work”.

His comments came just one day after an international humanitarian group blasted the government over multiple perceived failures on Abaco.

Darville said the recent traffic fatality in Abaco “highlighted the current deficiencies in emergency healthcare on the ground”.

“Seven weeks following the departure of Hurricane Dorian, the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority have not gotten their act together,” said Darville in a statement.

“Like the government’s relief and restoration efforts in the affected areas, the minister of health and his team appear to be disorganized and slow to act.

“This is completely unacceptable at this stage of the restoration and in our view the government has failed the thousands of people affected in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“The health minister must stop complaining and get to work, addressing the critical needs on the ground in the affected areas and give the people the relief and medical support they so desperately need.

“This is a national crisis, so find the money and put the supplies and support in the affected areas.”

Humanitarian Burke Bryant, who was among first responders to the Abaco crash on Monday, claimed the island only has one doctor.

Bryant further claimed it took nearly three hours to get a critically injured man airlifted to Nassau.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands refuted those claims, insisting there are five doctors in the Abacos, with three stationed in Marsh Harbour.

Sands on Monday underscored the lack of resources on Family Islands to manage critically ill patients, and insisted the country faced this unfortunate challenge long before the advent of Hurricane Dorian.

However, Darville maintained yesterday the issue is simply due to neglect.

The former minister of state for Grand Bahama further criticized the government over the state of healthcare on Grand Bahama.

Darville pointed to the Rand Memorial Hospital, noting that seven weeks after the storm, conditions at the facility remain in dire straits.

“It is my understanding that flood damage repairs have begun in the administration section, but like the entire national restoration efforts in Grand Bahama and Abaco, repairs are slow and the bureaucracy is discouraging,” he said.

“The entire health care system on the island is still in emergency mode after seven weeks and everyone is looking for someone to take the wheel and execute real leadership.

“Doctors are frustrated and there is a shortage of medical supplies.

“…With the garbage pile up and stagnant water from rain showers, real risks of infectious diseases and a public health crisis are evident.

“The government must issue the relevant contracts to repair critical healthcare infrastructure and remove the garbage in order to prevent a public health crisis and mortality in Abaco and Grand Bahama.”

Earlier this month, Sands advised that roughly 75 percent of the square footage of the Rand has been taken out of commission as a result of blackwater infusion and mold overgrowth.