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‘NONSENSE’

WRHA head rubbishes PNP’s claim about dispute over hiring of doctors for CRH

Published:Saturday | January 7, 2023 | 1:15 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Guy
Guy

St Andrade Sinclair
St Andrade Sinclair
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WESTERN BUREAU:

THE WESTERN Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has dismissed claims by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) about a hiring dispute between some qualified doctors and the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James.

St Andrade Sinclair, regional director of the WRHA, said there is no hiring dispute with doctors as stated by Dr Morais Guy, the Opposition spokesman on health and wellness, in a media release on Friday.

“All of what you have read is nonsense and it doesn’t make any sense to me or anybody in the region,” Sinclair said.

“I don’t know what it is speaking to or where (the author of) that media release gets their views from, but it does not make sense,” the WRHA regional director told The Gleaner on Friday.

He said the WRHA had placed an advertisement in the newpapers for the position of 10 doctors, the result of which is expected before the end of this month.

“We had about 30 applicants, and we are currently going through, shortlisting and selecting right now. It’s a process, and as we speak, that is ongoing and by next week the selected doctors will be notified and possibly be on board,” Sinclair explained.

“I don’t (know) where they get their details for what they are talking about. I read it, but it is not making much sense,” he continued, in response to the PNP’s claim.

In a media statement from Dr Guy on Friday, the shadow spokesman for health called on Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton to immediately intervene in the hiring disagreement between a pool of qualified doctors and the CRH, which he said had the potential of exposing the country’s fragile health system to unnecessary vulnerabilities.

When contacted by The Gleaner, Tufton directed the query to the head of the WRHA.

In the PNP release, Dr Guy said the management of CRH had flatly rejected several applications, stating that there are no vacancies at the institution to accommodate the doctors.

He also noted that these are the same doctors for whom contracts were not renewed, which sparked an ongoing dispute with the health authorities.

“It is evident that there is a disconnect between the WRHA and the CRH regarding the hospital’s need at this time, and therefore the minister must intervene to resolve the issue,” the release quoted Dr Guy as saying.

The release further stated that “the situation is of concern because there remains the threat of new COVID variants, respiratory illnesses and other health issues, which could trigger an unexpected demand on the system”.

According to the release, Health Minister Dr Tufton should intervene in the dispute and end the vexed matter.

It said: “The vacancies must be filled immediately to bolster the capacity of the hospital to deal with its challenges.”

Continuing, the release cautioned: “The overall interests of the public must be paramount in ensuring that any internal disagreement does not compromise their ability to access quality care and services and that the CRH and the public hospital network should not be placed in a position of weakness due to the lack of adequate personnel and equipment to carry out their functions.”

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com