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UWI docs may blank RHAs

Wednesday, April 30 2014

HEALTH Minister Dr Fuad Khan has dismissed reports that doctors working under the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus may withhold their services to regional health authorities (RHAs).

“I don’t think they will do that, these doctors are very supportive of patient care,” Khan said. However, two consultants from UWI yesterday said doctors are disgruntled after the blame they are being forced to bear following the baby Simeon incident.

They complained that UWI doctors did most of the work at the hospitals without blemish.

“There are two of us at this institution (hospital named), yet we do 66 to 75 percent of the surgeries. UWI doctors are more up to date with modern medical procedures,” a UWI doctor said.

Baby Simeon was delivered by Caesarian-section at Mt Hope Women’s Hospital on March 1, but died after he bled out after suffering a gash to his head during the procedure. The doctor who performed the surgery has been suspended with basic pay following the surgery.

The consultants who spoke with Newsday yesterday felt UWI doctors were being unduly blamed after it was reported that a UWI consultant, who was supposed to be present during the surgery, was in Tobago at the time of the surgery.

A committee, which comprised consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist of the University College of London Hospitals Dr Melanie Clare Davies, Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne, neonatologist and former head of the Neonatal Unit at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital and retired Appeal Court judge Mustapha Ibrahim, is supposed to complete its report later this week after the probe was completed yesterday.

“I don’t think they will withhold their services because I have a good relationship with these doctors and they are very committed. Unless they are being rubbed the wrong way, then they may say something like that,” Khan said.

Chairman of the North-Central RHA, Dr Shehenaz Mohammed, said if this is the stance of UWI doctors, then it is most unfortunate.

“For the past year I have been in discussions with the university, the doctors and the dean. We have had meetings with the Minister of Health and from since February last year, I have been asking for dialogue between the RHAs and the Faculty of Medical Sciences so we can determine a well-defined working relationship between UWI and the RHAs,” Dr Mohammed said.

“I think they are taking this position because I think the investigation went very much against them. The RHAs have been asking for dialogue to form a proper memorandum of understanding with respect to both service and remuneration and obligation to each other,” Dr Mohammed said.

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