Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) Vice President Dr. John Dillett yesterday expressed disappointment in the lack of communication from the Ministry of Health, as well as the minister of health, and said the CPSA is concerned about the effect it could have in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
He told The Nassau Guardian that with healthcare workers like nurses and physicians on the frontline, they deserve to be included in the process and afforded the courtesy of better communication.
According to Dillett, the CPSA has not been able to meet or speak with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis since he took on the portfolio as minister of health.
“Disappointingly, we have not had an audience with the minister of health, not within recent times,” Dillett said.
“That’s one of our disappointments. Earlier on in this COVID-19 pandemic and crisis we did have sufficiently more access to the Ministry of Health and the minister of health. But recently, that is one of the disappointments that communication has not been there. And, therefore, we have not really had a medium to pass our concerns.
“Certainly, some concerns have been sent both in letter form and other informal discussions… Presently, it’s a bit disappointing.”
The CPSA VP added, “Certainly, before, I think the communication may have been a little bit better and we were more included in part of the planning. And, so, we’ve seen and we’ve asked relatively recently for that to be improved and to this day I think that still has not gotten to the place where we would like it to be, in terms of very robust communication through the Ministry of Health and the minister of health and bodies such as the CPSA and the nurses and doctors unions.”
He said with over 10 new cases confirmed On Grand Bahama over the past week, the CPSA remains concerned over the state of the healthcare system amid the lack of communication.
“We’re concerned because it was not that long ago when the healthcare system was extremely stressed and was potentially going to be overwhelmed due to the number of cases that we were having and the concern about the resources moving forward,” Dillett said.
Dillett said another concern is that members of the public appear to have gotten lax in their approach to social distancing measures and requirements put in place by the Ministry of Health.
He said with the recent spike in cases on Grand Bahama and New Providence, the Ministry of Health will have to make tough decisions to help suppress COVID-19 numbers, and if a lockdown is recommended, the CPSA would support it.
“We would rely on our infectious disease experts to determine at what step that might be necessary,” Dillett said.
“Obviously, if there’s community spread and potentially you can have exponential growth that could put many people at risk then it may be necessary to make some hard decisions. Whether or not we’re there as yet, obviously, will come from the infectious disease experts in terms of what they think is best. But that has to be an ongoing dialogue. All relevant players need to be a part of the process and there needs to be good, effective communication so we don’t get caught off-guard. And I think if the infectious disease experts recommend that then I think we would have to support that. That would be the best thing for the country.”
Prior to the reopening of the country’s borders, the CPSA expressed concerns about protocols put in place for locals and visitors entering the country.
Given the admission of Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar that “one or two” people may have slipped in without the proper testing, Dillett said it’s up to all those who make decisions to remember that their decisions can put people at risk.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to remember our brother and our sister,” he said.
“We all have to do our part. So, even those in the decision-making roles, it’s incumbent upon them to also protect the rest when they’re making decisions that can potentially put us at risk, then, I think everyone should have a concern with that. I think that’s why communication is important, that’s why they should be taking our advice and there should be protocols in place to ensure some level of accountability to ensure that we’re all kept safe. Because that’s what we all want.”