Fyzabad MP wants Health Minister to address issues raised at JSC town hall meeting

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Fyzabad MP wants Health Minister to address issues raised at JSC town hall meeting

Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe says complaints raised by the public at a recent town hall meeting show that waiting times for healthcare services the public health system are unacceptable.

In a release on Friday, Bodoe said: The headline in today’s Express newspaper entitled “Painful Wait” speaks to the experience of thousands of patients on a daily basis when they seek healthcare at our nation’s institutions.”

He said the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration is to be commended for allowing the public the opportunity to comment and highlight their experiences in the public healthcare system by way of a town hall meeting.

Bodoe said the complaints raised at that forum are not new and speak to the fact that waiting times for healthcare services in our public health system remain unacceptable, and in some instances, are long enough to threaten life.

“The issue of chronic non communicable diseases, highlighted in the Seemungal Report on the COVID-19 pandemic as an ‘NCD debt’ is yet to be addressed in any meaningful way by this administration, even as COVID-19 has receded into the background. The hoax of a so called “parallel healthcare system” during the COVID-19 pandemic not only hid the NCD burden but increased it. As a result, those with diabetes, eye disease, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of getting timely care in the public health system. Many patients suffer in silence or die whilst waiting for appointments for cataract surgery, renal dialysis or cardiac investigations and /or cardiac procedures,” the MP stated.

He noted that, “Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality in Trinidad and Tobago, accounting for some 3,500 deaths annually, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. Hence, Nursing Manager Avion Drayton- Bailey’s 2 year wait for an echocardiogram at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex is simply unacceptable in a healthcare system that is often touted as ‘world class’ by this government. With timely intervention and access to modern procedures, many more lives can be saved and quality of life improved for citizens who experience cardiac conditions.”

Bodoe said if we truly wish to categorise our healthcare system as ‘world class’, then we must strive to give every cardiac patient a fighting chance.

“For example, the international standard for treating a heart attack is a ‘door to stent time’, of 90 minutes. This means that you get your coronary angiogram and stent in a cardiac catheterisation laboratory, within 90 minutes of presenting to the emergency room with chest pain. In our system, patients either have to seek angiograms in the private sector at their own cost, or wait months, and possibly years to get it funded by the government’s ‘Adult Cardiac Disease’ outsourcing programme.”

“The cardiac catheterisation laboratory at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, is often underutilized due to frequent shortages of consumables and other supplies. A cardiac catheterisation laboratory at the San Fernando General Hospital has been promised by this administration since 2015, but is yet to see the light of day.”

Bodoe is callin on the Health Minister to ensure that this facility promised at the San Fernando General Hospital be completed in the shortest possible time, as well as to provide adequate resources for the ‘cardiac catheterisation laboratory’ at the EWMSC to be optimally utilised.

“It is time for the over 6 billion dollars annual healthcare expenditure by this government to bring timely and tangible benefits to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Bodoe.