Team should include someone with experience of hospital administration
Stabroek News
December 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

We are reassured that the Minister of Health has, despite the report of the Chief Medical Officer and the misgivings of ACDA, proceeded with an official enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Berbice businessman Shahbodeen Kassim. We are also pleased that the Minister is calling for an audit of the hospital and health services in the region generally.

We are, however, less than sanguine about the persons and procedures that are being put in place for such an enquiry. Here are some of our concerns. First - and second - the appointed committee is made up entirely of men and all from Georgetown. Third, while we have very little doubt about the technical/ professional skills of the Commission we are not enthusiastic about the fact that there is no one with any experience in Public Administration/ Management.

One of the major problems at the New Amsterdam Hospital and the health services in Region Six generally is the degree of legitimacy accorded them in the community. There is a general view that neither the New Amsterdam Hospital nor the medical services in the region have any sense of responsibility/accountability to the community. Hence, an enormous sense of mistrust has emerged which is now playing out between the Minister and the CMO. That is not a technical medical question but an administrative and management one, requiring a lot more than just medical skills and knowledge to resolve.

And while we are at it let us take the opportunity to ask: a) the Minister of Home Affairs about the Report of the investigation into the Bass shootings at Corriverton; and (b) the Minister of Works about the promised reform of the Canawaima Ferry Service to include at least two Berbicians on its Board (there are none at the moment).

Yours faithfully,

Rishee Thakur