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Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. (iWN file photo)
Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. (iWN file photo)
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By Sheldon Bramble

Our national hospital does not have the best reputation, does it? Is it just people being ungrateful and negative? Or is the hospital indeed a national disgrace?

Have you tried calling hospital lately? If you are fortunate enough to get an answer at the first attempt, you would realise that all calls in are at the mercies of this one switchboard. This is supposed to be serving a whole nation and institution? Well there is also the A&E line. But the person at the other end of the line who is supposed to be enhancing people’s wellbeing and attending to their concerns often responds like you are bothering them. It is a good day when you get pleasantry and helpful answers. One might sometimes get a pleasant tone, but then, the replies are often condescending and reek with elements of somewhere between sarcasm and “you won’t understand our existence here”.

What is happening within the walls of this longstanding national institution that makes its personnel serving the public to become so anger filled with an almost unpleasant silent functioning?

Within this institution, there is something one might call the “sister syndrome”. Everyone seems to be afraid of these monstrous, in-charged, unapproachable rulers of their wards. In fact, the nurses at times seem to be so scared of these heads. So, one has to have had years of training and experience to attain this rank. But, having done so, have these persons somehow morphed into a realm of god-like existence?

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What we see in MCMH is a gross lack of efficient workflow. One can easily see the spiteful silence between different ranks and departments in the chain. No one wants to feel like his or her role is insignificant. But, to feel more significant and important, dragging feet and showing up someone else with prideful display and downright rudeness is the order of the day. All this while supposedly caring for the sick and ignoring the anxieties and humanity of loved ones and families seeking the interest of their sick.

So, there is an infrastructure problem. However, sadly, there is a bigger problem with the lack of professionalism and respect between workers at MCMH. And the symptoms of this are mostly observed in their dealings with the public — misdirected frustration and misplaced anger or an unapproachable deportment with a short fuse.

Where are the conversations about ridding MCMH of these maladies taking place? Where do nurses find a voice when there is injustice in the system that go against their professional oaths without being victimised? Where do doctors turn when they see inefficiency? Where are the forums for addressing more efficient workflow taking place?

Then there are the staff members who are not directly serving patients but whose jobs are crucial to the services rendered by those who are. Are they being properly held accountable for their efficiency and professionalism?

SVG is putting out graduates year after year more than at any other time in our history. Where do we see this investment in education improving all the nonsense behaviour and inefficient running of government institutions? So, do we have to have some bosses and head people die first — God forbid — or retire before we see change? Or, are we insisting that people currently serving in MCMH stop their inefficient and classist ways?

Do some people serve so long that they think they are above training? That it is belittling or humiliating to receive fresh ideas motivating them to lift their game and do better?

When Vincentians get a job in government, will they cry victimization if they have to learn something new? If the mentality is you can just do the same thing day in day out like a programmed robot and watch the clock, you are part of one of the biggest national problems in SVG. All government and other workers in SVG should never agree to be hired unless they agree to learn new skills and become more efficient in serving the public in SVG.

MCMH, you can regain some kind of good reputation in SVG. We’ew watching you. And don’t say this article is about the exceptions. We are talking about what we see as the status quo. Lift your game.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

2 replies on “Public attitude to MCMH — ingratitude or negativity?”

  1. Nathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    When people go there for treatment for the simplest things they risk their lives. Luke Browne should spend some time there as a patient.

  2. Percival Thomas says:

    I think one main factor of all you said is the political climate pervading all our institutions. The ghost of Ralph and his people in high position of authority. Everybody is afraid of these people.
    An if you are a Ralph supporter or ULP member. You are a little God. You do what you want and managers are afraid to bring you to heal.
    A second factor, perhaps non-political. I call it a” Vincentian thing”. Is the lack of training in customer service. Unfortunately, Vincentians have a big deficit in this area. I am sure there are some Vincentians who are good at customer service. But too many are bad at it.

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