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.