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Workers at Point Fortin hospital to Health Minister:

IF Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh does not intervene soon and effectively address a multiplicity of issues at the Point Fortin Area Hospital, workers will have no other choice than to withhold their services.

So said secretary general of the Unified Health Sector Workers’ Union (UHSWU) Rhea St John-Acosta, who said despite many complaints to management, all issues remained unresolved.

“He needs to come down and do something. Management is unwilling or unable to do anything to address the problems. The minister needs to step in because the workers are fed up. If something happens, it is the workers who would be held accountable,” she said.

For the past few weeks staff have been running scared, having spotted snakes in the hospital. The latest find came during the night on Wednesday when security saw a snake entering the Maternity Ward (Ward A).

Workers killed the snake, believed to be a coral, a poisonous snake whose bite could be fatal.

“That ward has about 15 patients. Nurses are scared to speak out openly because of fear of victimisation.

“We feel there is a snake nest near Ward A. This is the third snake that workers had seen since the Ministry of Agriculture sent people to spray the area,” the worker said.

Staff renewed calls for screen doors for the hospital’s kitchen to keep out flies and pigeons. Some months ago, a corbeau flew into the kitchen, where meals were being prepared for patients, and workers chased it out.

Another major concern is the dilapidated extended care centre at Warden Road in Point Fortin.

“The building has large cracks all over. Any time now the building can collapse, and no one is doing anything about it. Officials are visiting and looking around but doing nothing,” said a staff member.

Contacted yesterday for comments Deyalsingh redirected all questions to CEO of the SWRHA Keith Mc Donald, who was recently appointed. Mc Donald said there would be no need for workers to withhold their services as he would be addressing the various issues. He promised that the screen doors will be installed next week. With regards to the snake issue, he said he contacted officials of the Point Fortin Borough Corporation to assist in cleaning up the surroundings.

“On Monday we will be visiting the Extended Care Centre. Even before that official visit, I will go over the weekend and have a look myself. I understand their concerns. There would be no need for them to withhold their service,” Mc Donald said.

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