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Dr. Cuellar Calls for the Health Minister to Resign

Dr Fernando Cuellar has gone on public radio calling for the resignation of Dr Michel Chebat, Minister of Health. It was only last Friday that the doctor stepped down as a member of the KHMH Board of Governors, citing Minister’s Chebat comments to the media, some days prior, as a trigger. Dr Cuellar told Love News that it had nothing to do with any recent appointments to the Board, but rather there are a lot of things at play that made him step down.

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist:  “My resignation pretty much was triggered by what the Minister of Health Mr.Chebat had said last week I think it was Wednesday or Thursday when he said publicly that the Board of Governors at the Karl Heusner Memorial has to step up and although some people have approached me to tell me that I perhaps don’t know what the meaning of step up means I think any reasonable person would say that step up means that you’re not doing your job and you need to do better and that the Ministry of Health is doing its  part and it’s the fault of the board why things are not as good as they could be. I was very much shocked, upset, I still am. I would understand for example if somebody else had said it publicly or the opposition because you know there’s a lot of mischief in there but when it came from the Minister of Health who supposed to be the team leader within the public health system I found that very much insulting and untrue. And then the other part to this is that the following day I had to actually instigated a discussion among the other board members it was clear to me that some of the board members were more in favor of protecting the minister and saying you know what we shouldn’t say anything public and we shouldn’t give the impression that we’re fighting with the minister. And I said well it’s the minister that said something that is not true and insulting to the board of governors. So those are pretty much the two things I said you know what I can’t work in these systems again. I’m trying to do my best and it’s not out of haste believe me it’s not out of haste but the leaders, the politicians have to realize that they are not immortals and they are answerable to the people and I also want to make everybody realize that the exclusive goal of the Ministry of Health is to serve the people not to serve anybody else and to be involved in any rift that comprises the healthcare system because there’s more to meet the eyes as what’s going in the system. I know they will come and say that’s not true and I don’t have paper proof of it but I know that there’s a lot of rift and a lot of  – and this isn’t for this particular administration this is a chronic problem and the opposition would dare not try to even make this a political one because they are even more guilty because they have been handling the ship for the past twelve years and the whole purchasing of pharmaceuticals and supplies is a hustle basically and it has been a hustle with the Ministry of Health and it’s time that somebody – I don’t know the accountant general or what have you, the public at large to look into these things so  that monies can be well spent.”

With Minister Chebat issuing an apology for his comments last week, Love News asked Dr Cuellar if that held any weight for him.

Dr.Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “No it doesn’t. I’ve seen the movies before, I’ve seen this movie many times before so in the thirty years that I’ve been practicing and involvement in healthcare both public and private I’ve seen it so it’s not a personal thing, it’s not apologizing to me it’s apologizing and we need to fix the system okay? So regardless of who is in the ministership this time I would say that the Ministry of Health needs to be fixed thoroughly from the top- I’ve always advocated that the Minister of Health should have a healthcare background. We should have effective people in the CEO and DHS we don’t have that now. We’ve not had that for many times already okay ? And it’s time that we in the healthcare system , the doctors especially, speak out and try to fix this thing properly. Unfortunately though even us doctors are divided, we have the PUP doctors and UDP doctors which isn’t contributing anything proper to this whole problem but it’s the people that suffer. Unemployment is high, poverty is high and we need to have proper basic healthcare systems. I should be the last one talking like this you know because I’m in the private sector but I’m concerned.”

Later in this newscast we’ll bring you more from our interview with Dr Cuellar where he spoke on the need for a shakeup in the Ministry of Health.