The British Government is exploring ways it can work with Barbadian authorities to try to shut down the privately-run medical clinic owned by Dr Alfred Sparman.
Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement in the House this week as she responded to a request from Member of Parliament Alec Shelbrooke, the son-in-law of British citizen Gordon Spencer, who died in an English hospital on February 13 this year, after being in the care of the Sparman Clinic for ten days.
“May I ask my honourable friend [the Prime Minister] if she is willing to meet with me or the relevant department of government so that I might enquire as to how we can work with Barbadian authorities to shut this man down and make sure that what happened to my father-in-law, cannot happen to any other citizen,” Shelbrooke said.
When she rose to her feet, Prime Minister May said she recalled a conversation she had with the MP when his father-in-law died and the claims he made against Sparman’s treatment.
“I would certainly ensure that the proper department….the minister from the proper department is able to sit down with him and explore the issue that he has raised,” she told Parliament.
Shelbrooke is alleging that his father-in-law died after failing to receive the best medical care available at the Sparman Clinic.
When he first raised the matter in Parliament last Thursday, the MP also claimed that Spencer, who had become ill while on a cruise with his wife Jackie and had been treated by the ship’s doctor before being referred to Sparman’s facility, was improving at the point of disembarkation in Bridgetown.
But in a strongly-worded response published by Barbados TODAY yesterday, Sparman described the accusations as unjust.
“We understand the Spencer family’s grief at the passing of their loved one. However, the imputation that Mr Spencer did not receive the best care available at our hospital is simply untrue. If and when it becomes necessary and in the appropriate forum, we would provide further answers with respect to these allegations which, at this stage, appear emotional, vague and unjust when assessed with reference to the best clinical standards,” the local heart specialist declared.
Sparman also hit back at Shelbrooke, who criticized a decision by the port agent to refer his father-in-law to Sparman’s clinic when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) was the preferred primary acute care hospital for patients from across the Eastern Caribbean and vacationing passengers who fall ill.
“To our knowledge, the procedure in respect of cruise passengers is to offer them an option of either a public or private facility. Many patients including Mr Spencer chose to be treated at a private facility rather than the public hospital. As a matter of fact, Mr Spencer’s son Mr John Spencer stated unequivocally he does not want his father transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when he went over and observed the conditions over there. This is entirely a matter of patient choice,” the cardiologist stated.