Skeldon Hospital without telephone service

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– purchases mobile phone to contact doctors on call

The telephone service at the Skeldon Hospital was disconnected due to the non-payment of bills, thus forcing the administration of the medical facility to purchase a mobile phone in order to keep in contact with doctors.

“GTT will cut you off automatically if you don’t pay your bills and a hospital is a very important and crucial institution so the phones must be working because if someone wants to call for an ambulance… There are institutions where communications must always be readily available,” Region Six Chairman David Armogan told the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) on Thursday.

It has been three weeks since the telephone service has been disconnected. In addition, the mortuary is also non-functional. Administrator of the Hospital, Sherla Scott, who is a Regional Councillor, questioned whose responsibility it is to pay the bills for the medical facility.

Skeldon Hospital

“We are disgusted with complaints coming to us as Councillors hearing that the administration is unable to pay our contractors who would have done work for the region and also unable to pay our bills. I would like to find out who or which department is responsible for the public. When this goes out in the public, the information is so twisted that real person is not dealt with or nobody is aware of who is responsible,” she outlined.

Scott said contractors who did work at the hospital have to wait for months before they are paid. She noted that the contractor who did work at the institution’s mortuary is still to be paid months later and in now withholding his services.

“This is not the first contractor I would have had encounters with venting their frustration over us at the RDC not meeting payments. How do we ask persons to give us services and we are unable to pay them. The Skeldon Hospital has one phone line and that is the line that every person depends on; especially the Accident and Emergency Unit.”

Scott, who sits on the coalition side of the House, explained that the hospital has on numerous occasions enquired about payments and are always told that they are waiting on cheques.

“They are so many cheques to be asserted to and nobody knows if the cheques for Skeldon are ready.”

Hospital Administrator, Sherla Scott

According to her, on Wednesday a decision was taken to purchase a cellular phone and phone cards so that the hospital can contact doctors who are on call whenever there is an emergence. She also noted that hospital staff has to use their personal cellular phones to make calls on behalf of the hospital.

The situation, she explained, had been in existence for the past three weeks and a decision had to be taken since they were not satisfied with the response they have been getting from the regional administration.

“It is an administrative problem which is affecting the system,” Armagon added and as such, he is committed to ensuring that the issue is solved and the root of the problem is addressed.

Meanwhile, Regional Executive Officer (REO) Kim Stephens did not take the blame for the woes at the medical facility. The REO explained that the vouchers are sent to the sub-Treasury department and she has no control over that department.

In response, the Regional Chairman stated, “I hope that this matter can be sorted out very quickly because people in that community don’t have jobs since the sugar estate has been shut down; they are all poor now and have no money and so we have to provide a level of service which we are obligated to provide. This is not a favour we are doing for the people; they all pay taxes. It is taxpayers’ money and we cannot allow administrative bugling to affect the lives of people.”

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