«197 Leave of Absence Friday, July 23, 1999 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Friday, July 23, 1999 The House met at 1.30 p.m. PRAYERS [MR. SPEAKER in the ...»
Suppliers from Arima are being owed money. They took a cheque of $4,000 to carry to a particular supplier about two weeks ago, when the workers went to take the cheque to the supplier in Arima who has been owed $240,000, he chased them out. What they are doing is going from creditors to creditors, if they are owing this bunch of creditors, they develop new creditors and they are trying to limp along until October when the new budget is out. That is what is going on, but it has caught up with the Eastern Regional Health Authority and people do not want to supply them and, as a matter of fact, the suppliers are threatening. They have indicated to me that they want to go to court for their moneys. Is this the stage we have reached at the Sangre Grande Hospital?
258 Sangre Grande Hospital Friday, July 23, 1999 [MR. BOYNES] We have a major hospital in Sangre Grande of which all of us are proud. Do we have money for oxygen, and the ambulance? Some of the workers who drive the ambulance have indicated to me there are times they carry patients to Mount Hope or Port of Spain Hospital without oxygen in the ambulance. Drivers sometimes borrow tyres to put on the ambulance in order to take them to and fro.
This is the stage we have reached at the Sangre Grande Hospital and I am saying, for a hospital with a history as the one in Sangre Grande, it should not be allowed to reach that stage.
Mr. Speaker, when the supplier goes to the hospital they look for the manager who has to hide. She is on leave now—and there is an acting manager at the hospital—because she cannot take it anymore. This is what is taking place and we have been danced all over the place. When I call the CEO he is in a meeting, and no one could account for the non-payment of goods and materials taken by the Sangre Grande Hospital, but yet you have suppliers coming to my office and to my house for their money.
This is something we have to be mindful of, it cannot continue this way. The nurses are crying for their increment. Could you imagine that the nurses do not have their uniform allowance? They do not have their shoe allowance and they are threatening to come to work barefeet. This is what is taking place. They get their pay late at the hospital and that is why there are a number of them looking to go to England now. There is a brain drain on the system, but yet $91,000 is spent on scotch, rum and wild meat in Sangre Grande. That is what is going on.
Mr. Speaker, I would not mention the amount of money for the Miss Universe show, I would not mention that. I am mentioning the immediate thing that affects the people of Sangre and environs.
Mr. Hinds: They are campaigning with public money.
Mr. R. Boynes: They are not getting the type of services that they require;
which is a right. It is not a privilege, it is a right. Good health-care in Sangre Grande is a right to the people of Sangre Grande and environs. I am saying that it is imperative that this matter be addressed as soon as possible.
In closing, let me just reiterate and, ask the Hon. Minister of Health to deal with this problem as soon as possible. If the Minister does not know, I am asking him to speak to the Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Regional Health 259 Sangre Grande Hospital Friday, July 23, 1999 Authority. They go in the red every month by over quarter of a million dollars.
They go in the red every month, and that is a fact. If it is that they have to solve the problem, the Ministry of Health should sit with the Eastern Regional Health Authority and let us see who is paying for what. I do not think that was ever done.
It was never done! Sometimes you have to understand the poor Eastern Regional Health Authority, as well, because they are given the liability, but then they are giving other liabilities like electricity—T&TEC and that sort of thing.
So you have to understand, Mr. Speaker. There is a new amount of moneys that they have to pay from the $15 million. The sum of $2.1 million has gone towards the administrative arm of the Regional Health Authority to administer it.
That was money that could have been spent, normally, on taking care of goods and services. They have pulled out $2.1 million to administer the Regional Health Authority and that has not been replaced. They will be going in deficit each and every month. We the people of the Sangre Grande and environs, from Matelot to Manzanilla, are suffering. I am asking that this matter be given the urgent attention it deserves. I am kindly asking the Minister of Health to treat with it as soon as possible.
Thank you svery much, Mr. Speaker. [Desk thumping] The Minister of Health (Dr. The Hon. Hamza Rafeeq): Thank you, Mr.
Speaker. I welcome the opportunity to clear the records on some of the allegations and accusations that have been made by the Member for Toco/Manzanilla.
Mr. Speaker, there is no hospital in this country, including the Sangre Grande Hospital, that buys blood. If the Member says that $7,000 was given by the Friends of the Hospital to buy blood, that is something that is totally untrue.
Hospitals do not buy blood. [Desk thumping] The Eastern Regional Health Authority has the responsibility for the Sangre Grande Hospital, and for the past four years, the allocations for the recurrent
expenditure have been as follows:
1998, that was nine months, $11,250,000 1998/1999—$15,000,000.
260 Sangre Grande Hospital Friday, July 23, 1999 [DR. THE HON. H. RAFEEQ] As I mentioned, this is the recurrent expenditure. In addition to this there is money that is allocated for the Development Programme and there is staff in the Eastern Regional Health Authority that is paid by the Ministry of Health as well.
Early in 1999—that is in February 1999—the Authority felt that they would have problems later this year in dealing with their financial allocations. That is in February of this year. The Ministry met with the Board of the Eastern Regional Health Authority. We asked them to manage their business prudently, but some time in June, in our review at the Ministry, if we had savings we would make an additional allocation to the Eastern Regional Health Authority, but we could not make a commitment at that time.
In June we received a letter from the Chairman of the Eastern Regional Health Authority saying that their needs would be approximately $3 million for the rest of this fiscal year. Even so, during the year, the Eastern Regional Health Authority was able to introduce new services within the region. There are many new services which they have introduced but, in the interest of time, I would not go through those. They have been able to maintain most of the existing services.
At the end of June, at the Ministry of Health, when we did our review, we identified $3.5 million for virement from the Ministry of Health to the Eastern Regional Health Authority.
We approached the Ministry of Finance and on July 16 a release of $1,310,590 was made to the Eastern Regional Health Authority:
the cheque, which they collected just today. They have been allocated $3.5 million by virement. The letter of release was made on July 16, long before this Motion came. I just want to place this on the record. On July 16, the release was made and today the cheque was issued. Within the next two months we will be approaching the Ministry of Finance for the rest of that virement.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. [Desk thumping] Mr. Speaker: Hon. Members, I take it that the third matter on the Motion for the Adjournment is deferred for one week.
Question put and agreed to.
House adjourned accordingly.
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