A sorry state, says Dr Agard
The opposition spokesman on health has called for the Psychiatric Hospital to be condemned and reconstructed.
However, Shadow Minister of Health Dr Maria Agard has acknowledged that the Government was broke and unable to afford a new hospital, so she would settle for refurbishment of the Black Rock, St Michael institution.
Her comments to Barbados TODAY came in the wake of a two-day sickout last week by nurses at the mental institution to draw attention to several “longstanding” issues, including work conditions.
“Let us be reasonable. We know that we do not have any additional resources at this time to offer a recommendation for the abandonment of that building and to build a new psychiatric hospital. What is required right now is a refurbishment of the hospital. But the Government needs to take a serious look at the conditions. I do not even believe that they are making the effort at this time,” Dr Agard contended.
“It is unfortunate that the staff there found it necessary to take this kind of action because obviously they are caring for some of the more vulnerable people in the nation. But on the other hand, it is their right to work in favourable conditions, good conditions, and at this time the Psychiatric Hospital is to be condemned…it is in a sorry state,” she claimed.
The Opposition parliamentarian said she was aware there were plans to refurbish the hospital’s kitchen, therefore she would allow the Government time to “put their house in order”. However, the parliamentary representative for Christ Church West said Government needed to place the hospital on its priory list.
“Certainly it needs to be a priority. When you are grappling with scarce resources, certain issues need to take priority – and I believe that health is as critical as your security – and therefore health must command your attention,” Dr Agard pointed out.