The NWRHA needs to take a close look at the millions that are being syphoned out of its coffers.
The Minister of Health, the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh needs to address this matter given the recent robberies at the Port of Spain General Hospital and the surrounding satellite units.
Sunshine Today learned that sometime during the heights of the shooting that took place on the hospital grounds, the Medical Stores at the hospital were broken into and from one highly placed source, this seems to be a regular pattern, once stocks come into the stores. For once that happens as the day follow the night a robbery will follow.
From the information reaching Sunshine Today, this is the second robbery over the past three weeks and the frequency of these thefts is causing the country a tidy sum.
It is not only at the Port of Spain General Hospital that events of this nature take place because earlier this year at the St. James Medical Complex, close to a million dollars were lost in pharmaceutical items specific to cancer-related patients. A member of staff has since resigned over the matter.
Even at the Medical Stores, there is talk about items related to stopping the flow of blood from gunshot victims being stolen and this is not good news to the already frightened public.
So, while Mr Deyalsingh glibly boasts about so-called gains in the health sector he is not telling us about the gargantuan losses his Ministry suffers; a bill that must be borne by already burdened taxpayers.
Even the cost of the fires which razed the X-ray and Radiology Departments were never disclosed. The loss of machinery which took place was never quantified. But according to an official from the radiology department, the loss would have exceeded 30 million dollars in both equipment and damage to property.
We have not even checked the cost to replace this equipment or to set up new radiology and x-ray departments and I am sure that if the Minister honestly undertakes an audit the total loss during his tenure would be unbelievable.
As a nation, we cannot continue with this loss and unless the Minister of Health takes a serious approach in treating with this phenomenon then the nation will constantly be carrying a heavy cost having to replace stolen items which taxpayers’ money have bought.
Sunshine Today understands that what is needed is more austere handling of the keys to these facilities as all the evidence points to internal breaches and in some cases, the staff has been suspended.
Sunshine Today was even told that the employment procedures of the NWRHA are what makes these robberies possible and no-fault should be placed on the shoulders of the administration since everyone is aware from time immemorial how politicians at times influence the hiring of “community” people.
The health sector needs sanitization and the only reason why the focus here is on the NWRHA is because of the current shooting that took place recently because across all sectors the bleeding of resources is not being stemmed.
The Minister has to arrest this problem before he goes on public campaigns talking about Trinidad and Tobago becoming AIDS-free and a post-modern approach to treat with mental illness when his hospitals become the home for vagrants on a nightly basis. We were there Minister, doing mystery shopping while you were lying in your cushy bed in Valsayn.
Minister Deyalsingh has to stop passing down the blame and take the bull by its horns by being au courant with the leakage of resources that is bleeding our treasury.
And Sunshine Today is being proactive in calling the Minister to address these issues because with the increase in construction projects; the hospital now is going to become a virtual nightmare since it will be easier to steal and conceal and move the items off the General Hospital compound.
The health sector seems to be going nowhere fast
The hits that the Health Sector has taken pale into insignificance with regard to medicine stolen from the cabinets, sheets and pillowcases took from their stores or even food items which disappear from their pantries.
It is no wonder that the health sector seems to be going nowhere fast since the resources needed to effect development have now to be used to replace stolen items. It is the cost of this that we are challenging the Minister of Health to declare.
Things seem to get worse especially since, from the last robbery which clearly was interrupted, a number of large, properly packed bags were left behind. Inference can be drawn to suggest that someone has an interest in opening a stationery store given the number of notebooks, markers, pens, reams of paper which if given the opportunity would have been removed.
The country is becoming more desperate and people are going to be searching for opportunities to increase their salary even if it means through the acquisition of ill-gotten gains from our health sector.
It is, for this reason, we want the Minister of Health, first of all, to tell the nation how much money we have lost, beg him to explain to us what systems he has put in place to interrupt the pilfering that is taking place across the nation and what mechanisms he has introduced to apprehend the thieves.
We cannot continue like this. The Minister of Health must arrest this fallout before the impact on the national community becomes more than the people of this nation can bear.