JIS News

The Solicitor General has recommended that the Public Service Commission(PSC) determine whether there has been any breach of Staff Order regulations, arising from investigations into the operations of the National Chest Hospital(NCH) in Kingston.
This was revealed by Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, at a press briefing at his ministry, King Street, downtown Kingston, today.
Mr. Spencer said that he had been advised by the Solicitor General, that the committee he had appointed to review the situation had no power to make any determination of the rights and obligations of anyone, as it was advisory and could only make recommendations to him as minister.
He also pointed out that the committee provided an opportunity to the affected persons to participate in the investigations, but they declined.
“(The Solicitor General) also found that there was no breach of natural justice, and no evidence of bias on the part of the committee,” the minister explained.
The Solicitor General’s advice provided guidance on how best the Ministry should treat with matters pertaining to the operations of the hospital, arising from a report from a committee which had been appointed by the minister.
The institution came under the spotlight, after the review conducted by the committee, established by the Minister in October, 2007, revealed several deficiencies in the hospital’s activities. The review also found shortcomings on the part of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) in the monitoring of the institution.
One of the issues highlighted in the committee’s report, was that of exorbitant private fees paid to a consultant physician attached to the institution by public patients. The medical practitioner was subsequently suspended, and the matter referred to the Solicitor-General for advice.
Mr. Spencer said that the Solicitor General recommended that a copy of the committee’s report be submitted to the Commission, for the commission to determine whether there has been any breach of the Staff Order Regulations. And also, that the document be submitted to the Medical Council of Jamaica for consideration of its contents, with a view to holding an enquiry, pursuant to the provisions of the Medical Act, as is deemed fit.
“Since receiving the advice of the Solicitor General, I have submitted copies of the report to both the Public Service Commission and the Medical Council of Jamaica,” Mr. Spencer confirmed.
Regarding the recommendations relating to the general problems at the hospital, the Minister reiterated that his Ministry has moved with dispatch to address them, including a $60 million refurbishing exercise. He added that there is also an outstanding order for US$55,000 worth of items expected soon.

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