Health Minister Responds to KHMHA Workers Union Claims

Health Minister Responds to KHMHA Workers Union Claims

Yesterday, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority Workers Union (KHMH) fired off a press release, stating that there is a shortage at the nation’s referral hospital and it is affecting care. In the press release, the Union says that tests for laboratory service and blood tests are unavailable due to a lack of equipment and reagents. It says that common equipment such as tapes, gloves, blood-collecting tubes, and other items are lacking. It says that there continues to be a shortage of crucial medication and that the CT scan has not been purchased. Yesterday, the media asked Health and Wellness Minister Kevin Bernard about shortages at the KHMH. Here is how he responded. 

Hon. Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “We have been putting our very best effort to ensure that KHMH supplies are given to time, and sometimes I will say this, sometimes it’s not necessarily what is said out there that may be necessarily true. I will tell you a simple example a few weeks ago somebody called/text me of course I direct text I got from a patient saying that they went and they don’t have any Tylenol but we may not have the Tylenol in the form that the doctor prescribed but in the liquid form but there is the intramuscular form, there is it in the other methods and so sometimes these little things that go out or the person or the patient arrives at the facility after ten or eleven when they are treated, pharmacy is closed the prescription is given “Oh they had to go and buy the medication.” when in fact it is just this morning a friend of mine sent me a prescription that they needed Tylenol and they needed some type of thing and so I immediately checked with the hospital administrator in Orange Walk “Do we not have this ?” and the response was yes but when you look at the log it’s the time the patient was attended to the pharmacy was closed so the patient felt “Oh I had to go and buy it.” It’s not that. Sometimes the communication between the people at the hospital with the patient that has to be improved too. So not everything that we see or hear sometimes is the truth but we have been doing our very best. Now what I will tell you is that we already have a new tender cycle out and in fact bids have already been picked up, the deadline for those were end of January. We made a commitment as a ministry that we want to ensure that all bids are collected by latest the 27/28 of February those have to come in. My tender committee has been selected which involves various stakeholders as well, those will be reviewed within a two week span so that by the end of March or latest end of March we’re already signing contracts so that supplies can start to come in so that when these tenders that were delayed come in and are exhausted we already have stock in place to replace and continue and that’s the cycle we’re talking about to ensure that we improve so that the midyear comes again in June we start again that cycle and so that there’s continuity in supply of medication. Now we cannot control what is manufactured out there and what is not manufactured and the number of medication is manufactured we send out these bids, these tenders and then suppliers are obligated to ensure that what you got in your contract you’re supplying to the ministry. Our responsibility is to ensure that those medications are of quality and that’s the reason why we’re pressing on our drug inspectorate unit to ensure that they go out and inspect those medication on a timely basis.”

Love News contacted the CEO of the KHMHA, Chandra Nisbet Cansino and she told us that (quote) “regarding Laboratory Services, a final agreement with the service provider and KHMHA is currently being finalized and involves input and concurrence by the Board on which a representative of the KHMHAWU sits.” (end of quote) Regarding the concerns raised about equipment, Nisbet Cansino says that the hospital is equipped with 6640 including Micropore and zinc oxide, 125,500 unsterile and 232,200 sterile gloves, about 8000 blood tubes, 1,100 various sizes of Foley Catheters, 137,325 Syringes, 178 boxes of various sizes sutures, and 90 units of Fibreglass cast. We were also told that there is no rationing of Dialysis supplies and that Dialysis patients have nothing to worry about. Nisbet Cansino says that regarding Medications, at KHMH there are no further reports of quality concerns since the last report covered by the media in 2022

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