A recent spat between Kari Douglas, PNP Councillor, and Dr Judith Francis Bogle at the Bustamante Hospital for Children has been a hot topic in Jamaica this week. Douglas was said to be unimpressed with the initial reaction from staff on the state of her ill eight-month-old son. Douglas stood her ground which led to a two-hour shutdown of the hospital.
Douglas has since apologised for her actions.
PNP Chairman Fitz Jackson has come out quickly to condemn Douglas’ behaviour and the party will conduct their own internal investigation. Douglas is not well liked by the leadership. Her support of challenger Peter Bunting during the party’s recent leadership race has caused a backlash from the (leader) Peter Phillips wing of the party.
Take a chill pill Fitz! It’s not good PR to go after the mother of a sick baby to score cheap political points. Especially when we know of many Jamaicans who have experienced dismal customers services at public heath facilities on a regular basis.
Did Fritz publicly condemn his colleague Natalie Neita when she was initially charged with assault in 2018?
This week, members of the medical and nursing community highlighted the fear, stress and trepidation they face from the public on a daily basis. Carmen Johnson, the nurses union leader, disclosed that last month there were other threatening incidents against her members by the public at the Bustamante hospital.
Did senior management, the Bustamante board, South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and the Minister of Health & Wellness know of these earlier incidents? If yes, were there a ny preventive steps taken by the board at Bustamante to ease such pressures on staff?
Dr Bogle told the media “This is a longstanding issue. The entire A&E and ward staff feels unsafe to report to work. I do want a transfer because I don’t feel safe. I have been in the department for five years, and every patient who visits the hospital feels as if they can do and say anything without repercussion,”
If senior management had long been aware of the security concerns how could the actions of one unarmed member of the public lead to the shutdown of one of Jamaica’s leading public hospitals?
Makes you wonder if the public health sector is getting value for money in the services provided by private security firms. Especially, in light of latest security related contracts signed off by the government in the past week.
Published in Tuesday’s local newspapers were the following approved 3-year contracts totaling $JM1.7 billion for firms to provide security and related services in health facilities across the parishes of St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Kingston and St. Andrew.
- $436.6 million to Modern Investigations and Security Company Limited (covering Bustamante Hospital for Children, National Chest Hospital, Hope Institute and the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre.)
- $348.2 million to Shalk Electronic Security (Kingston and St Andrew health departments and all health centres.)
- $355 million to King Alarm (Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee hospitals.)
- $382.8 million to Marksman Limited (Spanish Town Hospital, St Catherine Health Department offices, Linstead Hospital and selected health centres)
- $193.5 million to Atlas Protection (Princess Margaret Hospital, St Thomas Health Department offices and selected health centres)
You would hope that Kenny Benjamin, Chairman of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, would be on top of any security concerns raised by his senior staff. Benjamin is founder and Executive Chairman of Guardsman Group of Companies, one of Jamaica’s largest private security firms.