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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is facing extremely difficult times as the national referral facility. Employees are dissatisfied with existing working conditions; there is also a severe lack of basic supplies, as well as a constant stream of resignation by nurses and doctors on staff. It all came to a head this morning when the K.H.M.H. Workers Union convened a press conference to air out the management of the hospital, as well as the Ministry of Health and Wellness. The executive of the labor organization laid bare the situation at hand and while some of it is being described as exaggerated, a grim picture is being painted about the services being offered at the hospital.� News Five's Isani Cayetano reports.

Darwin Slusher, Accident & Emergency Unit, K.H.M.H.

"It takes me five minutes or so to get a vein, administer the IV therapy.� On one particular shift, I timed on my phone, it took me twenty-five minutes to gather equipment to start an IV on a bleeding gunshot patient.� Twenty-five minutes.� At twenty-five minutes, I could have already put a Foley catheter, administered oxygen, give analgesics, attach a cardiac monitor, get an EKG, control bleeding But twenty-five minutes."

The situation at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is dire.

Andrew Baird, President, K.H.M.H. Workers Union

"If we haffu di resuscitate, and for the people who do not understand what is resuscitate, when we di do CPR we have wah bag weh we use to breathe air into the person.� There are different sizes. There are adults, there are neonates, there are pediatrics. But at this time, we have to use a pediatric for an adult to resuscitate, to resuscitate an adult. That's death."

The national referral facility is teetering on the verge of collapse where the delivery of primary healthcare service is concerned.

Andrew Baird

"The patients, the users of the institution continue to suffer. The staff of the institution is being asked to carry water in a basket. This cannot continue, we will stand no more in silence and these needs and concerns of the K.H.M.H. must be addressed now.� People will die.� The politicians cannot continue to play politics with the lives our Belizean citizens.� There is a failure in the health system that needs to be addressed."

The breakdown, according to the K.H.M.H. Workers Union, is the result of complete disregard by the present administration. That responsibility is being placed squarely at the feet of the political directorate, as well as the K.H.M.H. �Authority.

Andrew Baird

"Seventy-six million dollars could have afforded us a CT Scan new brand, not refurbished.� At this time we would have already had it in-house and to correct all the ills that we have with our supply chains and stuff.� Seventy-six million dollars could have seen more people receiving dialysis treatment.� Seventy-six million dollars could have refurbished the leaking roof in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital."

The figure being emphasized is the dollar amount that the Brice�o administration has agreed to compensate the principals of Belize International Services Limited, roughly nine years after the company was compulsorily acquired by the previous government.� The K.H.M.H. Workers Union contends that those monies could have been invested in the failing public health sector.

Tylon Tillett, Communications Officer, K.H.M.H.

"This is a cry for help. This is a cry for awareness to the public so that the public understands what is happening. It seems that in this country, the only way that you can get headway at times is to apply pressure to the system so that the system acts right so that people can get the resources that they need to conduct their jobs."

But what exactly does the hospital staff need, besides a laundry list of essentials, including gloves, masks and other basic items?� As stated by the president of the workers union, they are also seeking a sense of worthiness.

Andrew Baird

"There is a sense of unworthiness amongst the staff at Karl Heusner. There is a sense of "don't want to come to work." There is a sense when we come to work, how am I going to do my job.� In accordance with the labor� law, an employer must provide material for the employee to work.� If we can't have simple things like gloves to work, how do they expect our performance?"

K.H.M.H. C.E.O. Blindsided by Workers Union Airing Out Its Grievances

This morning's media brief held by the K.H.M.H. Workers Union caught the management of the hospital flat-footed.� Notwithstanding a cordial relationship with the union, Chief Executive Officer Chandra Cansino expressed her dismay with the approach that has been taken. Nonetheless, she does admit that there have been serious challenges where operational expenses are concerned.

Chandra Cansino, Chief Executive Officer, K.H.M.H.

"We were caught blindsided by these actions and so that is quite disappointing me because the last discussion the president and I had was that we wanted to maintain an open communication and ensure that we are both aware of things that are going on, either from the management's side or from the union's side. That said, the union has every right as union to meet and discuss the issues [that are] of concern to them and, as you all know, this has been going on from� well COVID only multiplied everything. We've been struggling with the issuance of supplies. The institution, or Karl Heusner, has been doing everything we possibly can and I think we had discussed this in a previous interview and I had explained that when we don't get our items that are tendered through the ministry, we make every effort to purchase those items for Karl Heusner. Dis da how ih work, right.� Ah mean, we get a subvention from the ministry every month, it's about two point four million dollars. Of that, about two point two or two point one, it depends on the month, goes straight to pay salaries. So what we are left with is a very small amount of money for the operations. However, as an authority, we are also obligated to access our own resources which is what we do by billing, by collections to try to get the money that we need to run the hospital."

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Dr. Angel Campos Weighs in on K.H.M.H. Debacle

Beyond the internal wrangling of the United Democratic Party, conversations this week have been centered around the dire situation that nurses and hospital staff are faced with at the K.H.M.H. On Wednesday, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Workers Union came forward to voice serious concerns regarding a lack of medicine, equipment, human resources and morale. They also vented their frustration with being unable to receive a pension upon retirement. During this morning's press conference, former Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Doctor Angel Campos spoke on the issues affecting the employees at the national referral hospital.

Dr. Angel Campos, Former Minister of State, M.O.H.

"Talking about the pensions, this is what most workers at the K.H.M.H. are arguing about. While healthcare workers countrywide, at any public institution pay twenty-five percent income tax and can look forward to a pension at their retirement, the staff at the K.H.M.H. also pays twenty-five percent income tax but have no pension to look forward to. To make matters worse, the severance is also taxable by twenty-five percent. K.H.M.H. never denies private hospital referrals, never denies health center referrals, but yet K.H.M.H. staff are denied their pensions after many selfless years of service. The shortage of staff and the resignation of staff at the K.H.M.H., this directly branches off from the blatant disregard the management and board of K.H.M.H. have shown to the workers, the backbone of K.H.M.H. Never before have mass resignations happened at K.H.M.H. and it will only continue as staff are fed up with the poor working conditions and nil benefits from K.H.M.H. Staff are demoralized and burnt out from the many back-to-back double shifts. Staff are leaving for better working conditions and more benefits with job security at other institutions locally and abroad. K.H.M.H. Authority shows no appreciation of staff, management has never gone out of its way to do any awards of staff with longevity or any special Mother's Day or Father's Day or such program for staff to feel appreciated."

Dr. Cuellar Says "Middle Man" Involvement in Procurement of Medical Supplies is a Problem

Internist, Doctor Fernando Cuellar is a former member of the K.H.M.H Board of Directors. He said that the head of the K.H.M.H. Workers Union sits on that board so that it should have known about the severity of the shortages at the hospital. He points to the involvement of middlemen in the acquisition process as the problem.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Former Board Member, K.H.M.H.

"These things should be aired at that level and I think that the current management has an open-door policy that they could be accessed that listen - but these people from the union are not telling lies. Dehn nuh di mek up story; there are some severe shortages of basic supplies that are compromising patient-care. And we realize that we only serve twenty percent of the general population. Eighty percent ah Belizeans di tek lick. And we as good corporate people and heartful practicing people want that everybody have some basic, good healthcare. I access the C.E.O this week to help us with a medication that I wanted to use in the private sector. They didn't have either, but I was hoping because we have that relationship but we nuh have wa point where we have lack of basic supplies."

Marion Ali
"Could it be that the situation is indeed because of the ratio that you just shared with us, you only cater to twenty percent so the shipping bottleneck might be with that other eighty percent?"

Dr. Fernando Cuellar
"No, no. I also work in the public sector, so I know what it is. The problem is the acquisitions of these supplies have to go through a lot of third persons."

Channel 5

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