The spokesperson for health in the Peoples Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) is raising a number of questions surrounding the saga involving well-known surgeon Dr Maurice Kiseka Walrond and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
On May 18, Dr Walrond was informed through a letter from QEH’s Executive Chairman Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland that disciplinary action including dismissal was being contemplated against him because he spoke to the press without the permission of the Board as stipulated in the employees’ contract.
On two occasions last week, the medical specialist called in to StarCom Network’s Down To Brass Tacks programme and made remarks about the inadequacies within operating theatres at the QEH.
However, speaking at a press conference this morning, Paul Gibson said that Walrond is no whistle blower.
“He reports to the Chief of Surgery, who reports to the Director of Medical Services, who then reports to the Executive Chair of the Hospital. Why would you even discuss or engage and explore that process first, before going to the media?
“Why would he write the CMO to the exclusion of the Head of his chain of command? Did he speak to his boss the Chief Executive Officer before going to the media or before contacting the Chief Medical Officer? Everyone knows that Dr John Gill had a process in place for doing surgery for non COVID-19 patients at the QEH. Surgeries are being performed as we speak,” Gibson said.
But at the same time, Gibson is suggesting that the arrangement between the state-run hospital and surgeons as it relates to private surgeries be clearly reviewed to redound to the benefit of the hospital. He said he was concerned about the fact that for many years, private paying patients were able to jump ahead of the line and have their surgery done ahead of public patients at QEH.
He said the surgeons use the resources, anesthesia, public nurse labour, government purchased gauze, and pharmaceuticals, to do private cases in a government hospital where the hospital makes no money “after using all of the people of Barbados tax dollars”.
“Are you understanding what is happening? It happens nowhere else in the world without the institution getting some financial benefit. Remember the taxpayers funds are being used to do these private cases at QEH. I call it the maximum profit model. What gives this right? Only here in Barbados. It needs to be addressed.
“We would have to dedicate all the call-in programmes for the entire week if persons were to share the challenges associated with having their public surgeries delayed. This is not political but public health,” he said.
“The conversation really should be about the behaviour of surgeons pre-COVID not having a high enough throughput to adequately cover the patient loads. We pay a lot of surgeons at the QEH a lot and as taxpayers we must demand our bang for our buck.
“Consultants are paid a salary to work on the part of the public, let us call them to account. There are some very good surgeons and they know who they are, but the others must get on board and better serve this country. It is that time. Bob Marley said and I quote, ‘who the cap fit, let them wear it’”. (AH)