Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. (iWN photo)

A New Democratic Party administration will review the policy of not handing over to relatives until all outstanding hospital fees are paid, the bodies of their deceased loved ones who die in hospital.

“Do you think poverty, being a poor person is a just reason why you can’t get the body of your loved ones when they die at the hospital?

“Do you know that when you loved one dies at the hospital you cannot get that body until you pay all the hospital fees. And my friends, the New Democratic Party will be putting in measures to assess that problem,” Curtis Bowman, the NDP’s spokesperson on health told the launch of the party’s election campaign.

He said and NDP administration will make healthcare available, accessible and affordable to every citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The New Democratic Party believes that the health of a nation is the wealth of a nation,” said Bowman who is the NDP’s candidate for Marriaqua in election wide expected this year, ahead of the 28 March 2016 constitutional deadline.

Bowman told the rally in Sion Hill that the NDP wants to create and maintain a protective environment to meet changing needs of the nation to ensure each citizen has access to proper healthcare.

He said that for months blood tests could not have been done at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), the nation’s main healthcare facility, and as a result poor people were suffering.

“I have good news for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That good news is the New Democratic Party will improve the healthcare system in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and our aim is to provide health care for every single Vincentians in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The New Democratic Party will introduce a back to the basic approach in the delivery of healthcare. We will make health care available, accessible and affordable to every Vincentian,” he said.

Bowman said the NDP will build a new state-of-the-art hospital, and thereby make healthcare available and accessible.

“The New Democratic Party will reduce the financial burden on individual families through the introduction of a national insurance programme, and in doing that, the New Democratic Party will ensure that healthcare is affordable to every citizen of this country,” he said.

He said an NDP administration will ensure that an ambulance is stationed at each district hospital and ensure that more working ambulances are stationed at MCMH.

“We will train ambulance personnel, therefore reducing the response time for emergencies. We will improve the testing and diagnostic services. So gone will be the days when you have to wait months and months to get your blood test done.”

He said the NDP will ensure that all hospitals and health clinics are fully staffed, equipped and have basic medical supplies.

It will also extend the opening hours of the pharmacy at MCMH. “It doesn’t make sense that we have a hospital and a casualty running and the pharmacy close at 4 o’clock and the patient cannot get their medication until the next day,” said Bowman, a pharmacist.

Further, the party will improve the infectious disease units by implementing strict protocols when handling the outbreak of infectious diseases, ensuring staff in these units are properly trained and provided with the proper equipment as recommended by World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control.

“We will strengthen the Environmental Health and Vector Control Unit. That is to say, we will be on the ball. Not like this Unity Labour Party. The Vector Control Unit will be well prepared for the outbreak of mosquito-borne disease like the chikungunya virus that almost kill us some time ago,” Bowman said.

He said that NDP will ensure that doctors are available 24 hours a day at rural hospitals and will ensure that a staff nurse is always on duty at the Mayreau Clinic.

Bowman told party supporters that the party will increase the number of doctors on call at the Accident and Emergency Department of MCMH, thereby reducing the wait time there.

“I personally will ensure, once I am a part of the New Democratic Party, that no Vincentian or visitor will go the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital today and get attendance tomorrow,” he said, adding that the party will ensure that there is a specialist at the hospital for all areas.

He also said that the NDP will expand the Home Help for the Elderly programme to also provide health care to “at-risk population” and mentally challenged persons.

And NDP administration will also improve the Lewis Punnet Home and the Mental Health Centre, and will improve port health facilities, he said.

“My brothers and sister, with all this said, we are ready for a new government headed by the next prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Arnhim Eustace. I believe that this country will regain its promise, my brothers and sisters. Out of this long political darkness a new day will come,” Bowman said.

4 replies on “NDP will review policy of not releasing bodies from hospital until fees are paid — Bowman”

  1. Last week they could not carry out some surgeries because theatre gowns and surgeons green body gowns were unavailable.

    Women who have mamograms have to take the images to a private company to have them read and diagnosed cost between $80 and a $100. Now they have the equipment at the hospital no one can read the pictures.

    My worry is are they competent enough to understande the dangers of that equiment and Xrays which can give you a leathel dose of radiation causing cancer and even death if improperly used or calibrated.

    How often does an overseas manufacturers engineer come and service and calibrate the equipment when the health service is broke and cannot afford such service.

  2. TeacherFang says:

    There is a definite need to review this policy. I understand there is a cost involve and the hospital have to generate revenue somehow to survive; but really, holding the dead as hostage is just heartless. I think the hospital can have a flexible payment plan that encourage folks to pay what they can and so avoid this embarrassing situation. I also think that unpaid fees over ten years should be written off OR some sort of discount given to recover part of the fees…half a bread, better than none?

    I think the NDP have a great opportunity to really make an impact on the Vincentian society by bringing our health system from the dark ages into the 21st century. The biggest problem with our health system is that the Government do not attached a high priority to it. And this goes for both the NDP and the ULP. Under the Mitchell Regime, Ottley Hall was given highest priority over our health concerns…and of course the Gonsalves Regime, the Argyle Airport. Now the amount of money that was spent and is still spending on these projects, had we allocated that money for a state of the art Hospital outfitted with top level medical equipment..our citizens wouldn’t be running to other countries for medical treatment.

    Lets hope the NDP put our health issues as a high priority. But, I suspect, given what I heard from Mr Eustace last week, he seem preoccupied with the balance sheet and economic tautologies. Mr Eustace will do well, at some point during this campaign, to demonstrate to the masses that he is not a one track pony. We all know that his expertise is in Economics and finance but surely he can regale us with stories of the mistreatment of Sports and Culture under this Gonsalves regime.

    But who am I kidding.

  3. I will instruct my family that if I die in that hospital, that they leave my body there indefinatly, or until I stink the place up.

    If you do not pay, will they eventually take you out through the back gate and bury you in an unmarked grave? Or will they sell your body to the highest bidder in a monthly auction sale of dead bodies?

    As far as I am concerened they can bury me in any old box, in fact the man that makes dog kennels out of old palates would be my first choice of coffin maker.

  4. The real thing is, we look after the state during our lifetimes, paying taxes and all that kind of stuff. The least they can do is look after us when we are ill with free hospitalization and treatment.

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