The United National Congress is calling on the Health Minister to urgently and impartially investigate very disturbing claims that some of the most experienced and senior medical doctors at the forefront of the unceasing Covid-19 battle at the Couva Medical hospital have been forced out of their jobs for questioning allegedly bad, and potentially dangerous management decisions of senior officials at the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA).
The UNC said it has been informed by very reliable sources within the upper echelons of Ministry of Health that, as of this week, senior doctors with the following medical specialties and posts have been transferred from the Couva Hospital by the NCRHA’s senior management:
• Chief of Staff
• Head of ICU,
• Head of Nephrology
• Head of Medicine
• Infectious Disease Specialist
• Infectious Disease Specialist and Chief of Staff
The UNC has the names of these doctors and the specific details regarding their respective transfers.
“We’re reliably informed that they are the key frontline medical practitioners who have designed, crafted and implemented the life-saving medical protocols for the management of Covid-19 patients at the Couva Hospital, particularly for the very ill patients in the High Dependency (HDU) and Intensive care (ICU) Units,” says PRO Kirk Meighoo.
“However, we will NOT make their identities public, for fear of them being subjected to vicious personal attacks and further victimization at the behest of the respective powers that be. We salute these brave, courageous, heroic doctors, and all the dedicated, hardworking frontline medical practitioners, who are risking their lives, and that of their families daily, for the sake of battling the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in T&T since its onset,” he added.
Miehgoo said “Our information is that, amid the latest calamitous explosions of record breaking Covid-19 cases among the T&T population, where a record number of citizens have been dying at the nation’s parallel health care institutions, including the Couva hospital, these senior medical professionals had voiced serious concerns over that poor management decisions, allegedly made by NCRHA management officials who have no medical expertise, training or qualifications whatsoever.”
Instead of heeding these qualified, dedicated, frontline medical experts, however, the UNC was told that they were treated with vindictiveness, hubris and spite by certain political appointees in the NCRHA management, and unceremoniously pressured and transferred out of their critical positions. This has reportedly left the Couva Hospital dangerously adrift at this crucial time, where the Rowley-led Government has been forced to call a State of Emergency in its ongoing efforts to contain the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, which it has thus far failed to manage in any tangible manner.
The Opposition party said if the allegations are true, “the NCRHA’s management and, by extension, the Ministry of Health stands guilty of workplace bullying, violating the enshrined Constitutional and Labour rights of the doctors in question, and other affected staff members, outright nepotism and even criminal behaviour, given the fact that any deliberate move to destabilize our already fragile, broken parallel health system at this time could cost citizens their lives in the unending, deadly Covid-19 crisis.”
The UNC notes that this is not the first time the NCRHA’s senior management has been embroiled in such serious allegations. Notably, the NCRHA’s CEO, Mr Davlin Thomas, has appeared at the latest Ministry of Health news conference. Mr Thomas is a political appointee to this critical post in the public health sector, and he also serves as the Deputy Chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC).
The UNC expects Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, along with Mr Thomas, to shed some public light on these serious allegations, since citizens lives are at stake. We also reiterate our call to the Rowley Government to refrain from its dangerous, nepotistic practice of appointing unqualified political favorites to senior, important public sector jobs, where they collect multiple large salaries at taxpayers’ expense, since this is seriously compromising the effective running of the country’s numerous public institutions, to the detriment of the citizens.