GIS: Prime Minister Hon Allen Chastanet continued the “Meet the Workers” island tour last week, this time stopping off at the St. Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort.
The intention of the tour is to glean insight into the daily challenges faced by civil servants.
Nicole McDonald, Senior Communications Officer for the Government of Saint Lucia, said the tour is a platform for employees to dialogue directly with the prime minister on issues affecting productivity in the workplace.
“Throughout the rest of the year the Prime Minister will stop off at different places in order to meet the workers so they can voice their concerns directly to the prime minister. Today we’re at the St Jude Hospital, located unfortunately at the George Odlum Stadium. The prime minister has been walking around to the different offices and wards to get a feel of what exactly people are going through being housed at the stadium. We know it’s a very difficult environment, and in our efforts to get the new hospital up and running we want to ensure the hospitals are equipped with what they need in order to run successfully.”
Verna Charles, CEO of St. Jude’s, expressed the appreciation of the hospital staff for the Prime Minister’s visit.
“Most times persons in the south feel very neglected, so the staff members are elated at this visit. One of our major challenges is being housed at the stadium. We do not have the proper equipment or adequate staff to provide the quality of services we would like to provide. Despite all these challenges we are still able to provide a full complement of services, but for example our x-ray machine will work for one week and it goes down, and we have to fly in a technician out of Barbados or Trinidad to repair the equipment. We also have issues with our chemistry analyser and we have to use the private sector, and of course there is the inflated cost associated with going to the private sector, which is at a cost to the clients that we serve. So are challenged all round being at the stadium.”
Prime Minister Chastanet empathized with the frustrations of staff and patients and noted that efforts are being made to expedite the move to the new hospital.
“People are frustrated. It is very difficult to deal with the deficiencies of the hospital on a daily basis. I’m moved at the capacity of the people here and what they have done and I’m also very sensitive to how frustrated they are, and to the patients who can probably sense some level of frustration. It is sad that almost seven years since the fire that we’re no closer to moving into the building than we were before,” he said.
“According to a report made to Cabinet a lot of the rooms were not built to specification resulting in their inability to contain the necessary equipment. However, there was a report that has been done on a way forward, and there was a meeting with the St Jude Board of Directors and the Ministry of Finance, and we’re trying to get things done as quickly as possible.”
Since the beginning of the tour, the Prime Minister has visited Victoria Hospital, SLASPA, and other government departments. The tour of SJH was held on June 29.