The continuous verbal battle between Health Minister Nickolas Steele and Junior Doctors has caught the attention of Labour Representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Raymond Roberts.
The trade union representative in the Upper House was addressing a meeting of the Senate last week Friday when he said the approach of Minister Steele to health care is far superior to what has been seen in recent times.
“I want to warn the new Minister of Health at the same time that his utterances on radio could derail much of it,” he told the Senate.
His remarks were seen as being critical to the manner in which former Health Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen was handling the myriads of complaints coming from Junior doctors.
According to Sen. Roberts, the Junior Doctors have a very strong case, and they must be treated with respect by the authorities.
However, he cautioned that any verbal battle between Minister Steele and the doctors should take place “in-camera” and that they should not vent their feelings through the media.
The Labour Representative said he has had the opportunity of meeting with the doctors and what he heard from them is quite frightening.
Sen. Roberts said he discovered as a result of the meeting that the country’s medical service does not have protocols for a number of things such as the treatment of diabetic patients, and people with strokes.
He also told the Senate that on weekends the hospital pharmacy is close, and that only two doctors are on duty, one stationed at the Casualty Department and the other is located on the wards of the St. George’s General Hospital.
He added that the Princess Alice Hospital in the rural area of Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s which contains 60 beds is even worse off than the main facility in the city.
Among the complaints levelled by the Junior Doctors are inadequate meals served to them, inadequate transportation to take them to work when placed “On-Call” and not sufficient remuneration for their services.
Sen. Roberts also made some passing remarks on the current banking operations in the country and was very critical of the charges people now have to pay when conducting business with the local commercial banks.
“The charges are just about on everything… it is not fair to the ordinary workers,” he said.
In recent times, the banks have implemented charges on cashing of cheques and other financial transactions over the counter with the Bank Teller.
Last month, the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited announced that a maintenance fee of $1.77 monthly will be charged to its customers.
Sen. Roberts appealed to the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) to use its influence to see what can be done in getting the banks to stop some of the new fees and bank charges.
The Senator said gone are the days when people used to store their money under their mattress.
Due to the charges people are facing most of them are now turning to credit unions for business transactions.