Phillips labels public health service as rat-infested and hellish
Dr Peter Phillips
Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, a former health minister himself, has charged that the rundown state of the country’s public hospitals is now forcing some people to “carry their own rat traps” with them when they go for medical treatment.
Phillips made the charge while addressing the public session of the People’s National Party’s (PNP) annual conference on Sunday at the National Arena in St Andrew.
The PNP president made the comment against the background of what he described as rising poverty levels and the high cost of living facing many Jamaicans.
“I don’t have to tell you about the experience in the hospitals. You know it, you feel it. If you get admitted to hospital today, you lucky if you get a bed,” Phillips stated.
“People in hospital a sleep on wheelchair and bench. Just the other day on social media, dem show a picture of an elderly woman who sleep fi four days on four chair dem put together. Nutten caan gwaan so, is a national disgrace,” Phillips declared.
“And if you lucky enough to get a bed, you haffi a carry you own sheet, you own pillow, you own pillow case, you own food. You family haffi bring food (and) in some hospitals you haffi carry you own rat trap,” Phillips remarked.
That comment was followed by Bob Marley’s popular song, ‘Rat Race’, blaring over the loud speakers.
According to reports in the media, in June of this year, patients and staff on Ward Three at the Spanish Town Hospital had to be relocated, as a rat infestation was discovered on the ward. Patients had reported seeing rats close to their beds.
The area was subsequently treated.
Meanwhile, Phillips blasted the Government’s no-user fee policy as bad policy.
He said patients using the public health system who are told they need an x-ray, are forced to fork out a minimum $20,000 out of their own pockets to get it done outside the hospital because of a lack of equipment.
“And dem (the Government) say healthcare free,” Phillips remarked.
“At the very least the Government should ensure that it is able to collect monies from insurance companies for those persons who have health insurance but who utilise the services of public hospitals,” he stated.
He added that “poor people catching hell in this country”.