Workers at Psychiatric Hospital call in their union

Deplorable working conditions and numerous outstanding issues at the Psychiatric Hospital drove unhappy members of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to call in its executive board for an urgent tour of the facility today.

After touring the Black Rock institution around 3 p.m., recently appointed NUPW President Akanni McDowall told Barbados TODAY that from what he saw during the hour-long tour, he would be requesting an official meeting with the hospital’s Director (Ag) David Leacock to discuss outstanding concerns as soon as possible.

A delegation from the NUPW led by President  Akanni McDowall visited the hospital earlier yesterday.
A delegation from the NUPW led by President Akanni McDowall visited the hospital earlier yesterday.

McDowall refrained from speaking about the matters. However, reliable sources told Barbados TODAY that poor working conditions, including termite and fungus infestation of the roof, poor management, shortage of medication and supplies, supersession, a lack of staff appointments for the last ten years and overcrowding, were among major issues.

This photo, said to be a section of the hospital’s condemned kitchen, was sent by a concerned employee. The hospital’s meals are currently prepared at the Geriatric Hospital on Beckles Road, St Michael.
This photo, said to be a section of the hospital’s condemned kitchen, was sent by a concerned employee. The hospital’s meals are currently prepared at the Geriatric Hospital on Beckles Road, St Michael.

This morning, Acting Minister of Health Michael Lashley toured the hospital with top officials from the ministry and management of the institution. According to Leacock, Lashley visited the hospital to familiarize himself with the facility and staff as he acted in the capacity.

Meanwhile, McDowall said the focus of the proposed meeting with the director would be on maintaining a cordial relationship with management. However, the recently appointed NUPW president stressed that based on what he witnessed, along with the issues drawn to his attention, he understood why staff members were uncomfortable in their working environment.

“I don’t want to go into any details,” he said.

“But I think it is fair that we must give the director a chance to explain himself and then we can always report back to the media. It would be unfair for us to really speak to you before we give him a chance.

“This is a new executive and we do have a relationship with [management], but that relationship does not mean that the concerns of our members are not being addressed. This executive has a loyalty only to the membership,” McDowall stressed.

Earlier this month, Opposition Member of Parliament for Christ Church West, Dr. Maria Agard, while contributing to debate in the House of Assembly on the Health Services (Amendment) Bill, voiced concerns about conditions at the Psychiatric Hospital.

“It is unacceptable,” she said. “ . . . . I think that a word must go out to our state facility, that it really must do better, even under these very harsh economic circumstances.”

9 Responses to Deplorable!

  1. Sandie Blades
    Sandie Blades May 21, 2015 at 6:57 am

    I’m ashamed

  2. Annette Beckett
    Annette Beckett May 21, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Really..the NUPW continues to be found wanting…how long were these conditions deplorable? how did the union seek to get conditions improved? Why does the union take so long to get things like this sorted out?

  3. Meldina Smith
    Meldina Smith May 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Some of our most venerable citizens must further suffer at the hands of our government

  4. Donna Harewood May 21, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Wow! Not fit for use as a dog kennel!

  5. dave May 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Boy Akanni you got yuh hands full boy. The Public Service is frigging nightmare

  6. Charles Worrell May 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I think the NUPW president acted with maturity and consideration and we all would benefit from this approach. Clearly, these are issues that have gone on for a very long time WITHOUT being drawn to authorities attention and now that they have been, it is right that the proper respect and regard be exercised. It is also an expectation now that once these conversations have taken place, no delay will be encountered in rendering this hospital tidy, hygenic and fit for its patients. Management too, should be put on notice that this situation should not occur again as they are the ones paid to ensure that such conditions do not exist without urgently correcting them. I believe that if this kind of procedure is gone about, we should have this situation resolved and life continuing. We have to realize that issues have to be shown up where and when necessary but we must also move to correct them without the mess. This helps no-one and we are better than this as a people.

  7. IW May 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    They must be mad to work in those conditions.

    On a serious note – think about the health and safety side of the kitchen!

    Have the health inspectors been there to assess the kitchen??

    The grout on those tiles would hold a lot of bacteria!

  8. Fiona Griffith May 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I am here looking at this kitchen in shock…what have me, is the hospital have health inspectors…so how was this kitchen “APPROVED” and dean fit for cooking food for humans?? Double standards if I must say….I am glad the public gets to see this….Now to the President, great decision to allow the Director given a chance to explain.

  9. Marcia Clarke May 22, 2015 at 12:15 am

    I believe things will improve but not everything instantly.


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