There are 1,640 foreign doctors employed in the State sector, yet 300 local doctors cannot get jobs—and while T&T needs 1,500 nurses, a number of nurses are "begging" for jobs," says UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
Gopeesingh drew attention to the situation in yesterday's 2019 budget debate in Parliament. Citing health sector deficiencies, he angrily slammed Government for mismanagement of the sector.
He said, "The health sector's in crisis! People are saying it across T&T. How many people are confident in using the sector— the confidence isn't there!"
He said that also applied to PNM MPs who've used private hospitals like St Clair Medical Centre or who went abroad like Prime Minister Keith Rowley (for a Prostate Specific Antigen test) and others.
But whether private or public hospital, he said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar stayed in T&T for medical attention.
Apart from staffing issues, Gopeesingh listed ills in the sector: overcrowded wards, long waiting time for hospital beds, CDAP drug shortage which he said the Health Minister is now admitting, ceilings in some institutions falling in wards and operating theatres, lack of drugs, equipment and modern parts in some hospitals.
Gopeesingh said Government wasn't focused on preventative/early screening for obesity and cancers, one of T&T's widespread problems along heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Of the annual 12,000 deaths among 6,000 men and 6,000 women, he said cancer accounted for 2,000, heart (2,000), diabetes (1,500) and hypertension (1,000
Gopeesingh said mammogram machines and equipment to do post PAP smear investigations were lacking in hospitals and there are annually 100 cervical cancer deaths, 200 prostate cancer deaths and 200 breast cancer deaths."The Health Minister's measures aren't impacting the public," he added.
Detailing the PP government health initiatives, Gopeesingh said in 2012 the Blood Bank had opened on Saturdays—something which Government plans to do now. He cited increased attention for depression and mental issues among future UNC plans.
Gopeesingh said annual PNM budgets were all the same and "Nothing's done,.... they (Government) say they're doing a great job , yet they're asking for UNC MP's help - we'll help you ...pack your bags . Call elections now!"