Does the FNM government really care about the nation’s health?

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Commentary by Bradley B. Roberts

Former Cabinet Minister and MP

4th February 2018

It is said that the health of a nation is the wealth of the nation.

With that said I will cut right to the chase this week and ask some pointed questions to Prime Minister Dr. Minnis and Health Minister Dr. Sands, the two men hired by the Bahamian people to superintend the functionality and continuous improvement of our national health care delivery system.

Does Duane Sands and Dr. Hubert Minnis have financial interests in Physician Alliance?

Are beds available at PMH but allocated to Physician Alliance?

Why hasn’t Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands and the Prime Minister moved with dispatch to protect the public interest and cause for beds to be made available for these sick patients if in fact beds are available?

Why was a 90 year old extremely sick patient (reportedly with pneumonia) sent home to die when beds are available and her life could have been saved?

Then there is the case of a 77 year old lady whom I was advised was is in heart failure, whose blood pressure was uncontrolled and who had bronchopneumonia? Sending her home while she was in obvious respiratory distress and quite unstable. This 77 year old lady died and her husband and children are seeking answers, they are asking how is it she was sent home due to bed shortage when beds were available on Doctors Alliance controlled private rooms? Is the new policy just to send home the very sick elderly patients to die who are unable to afford private beds?

Is the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister in collusion together to protect their personal business interests?

Both public servants have a sworn duty to avoid the very appearance of any conflict between their sacred duty to the public and advancing their personal business interests to the detriment of the public.

Dr. Sands sought to white wash this important issue recently by describing the healthcare system as being in crisis. He was however unable to offer any policy prescription to advance public health, a job the Bahamian people hired him to perform.

I reiterate that the comprehensive National Health Insurance plan, NHI, introduced by the PLP government is the policy prescription for the ills and deficiencies that inflicts and plagues our health care delivery system.

Is the Minnis government following through with the plan left in place by the PLP government as advised by global health consultants KPMG? If the FNM government has abandoned this plan, then what is their policy alternative?

No amount of deflections by attacking the PLP and the health consultants will move this country forward. No amount of PR by Dr. Duane Sands on social media in surgical scrubs will fix the healthcare system. So the media gave Dr. Sands positive PR and the government still reported that there are no beds at PMH for public patients, elective surgeries have been suspended and sick Bahamians are being sent home to die while the business interests of Physician Alliance are apparently being protected. If this is not so then both PM Minnis and Health Minister Sands have a public duty to set the record straight.

In light of this apparent negligence, I submit that the country would be better off if these two men had just stayed in the private and allowed patriotic Bahamians committed to public service to solve the health care challenges facing our country. This lack of concern was never so evident than on Monday evening, 29th January, when the Prime Minister delivered a national address and could not see his way to address the country’s healthcare system. On the other promised, he made general and cursory announcements about them. This continues to play right into the current public narrative that the FNM came to office with no plans to govern and fumbling, stumbling and bumbling their way along. Shame on the Prime Minister.

I will continue to sound the public alarm and ask the pertinent questions on behalf of the Bahamian people to which the FNM government is accountable.

THE FNM GOVERNMENT OWES BRADLEY ROBERTS NOTHING BUT THEY OWE THEIR BOSSES, THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE, EVERYTHING IN THE WAY OF COMPETENCE, GOOD GOVERNANCE, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY!

The Minnis government is well advised that the Bahamian people require answers from their elected leaders and public servants and continued deflections by this FNM government can and will only breed more distrust and cynicism by a public whose patience is running dangerous thin.