Advocacy group calls for Health Minister to resign

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  • Mark Selley

    Mark Selley

Health Minister Zane DeSilva should resign in order to restore credibility to the Island’s healthcare system, according to patient advocate Mark Selley.

Mr Selley, a founder of Bermuda Healthcare Advocacy Group says they have been calling on the hospital to be transparent about the suspension of the Chief of Staff Donald Thomas.

Dr Thomas’ resignation was announced this week, ending a four-year tenure at the hospital. He had been on administrative leave since July.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board has refused to provide details on the circumstances surrounding his leave or his resignation citing confidentiality, a stance backed by Minister DeSilva.

“He’s a good talker but words don’t cut it,” Mr Selley said of the Minister. “We need action.”

BHAG had been pushing for Dr Thomas’ ouster but the problem was a BHB that condoned the situation in the first place, he added, and the BHB has a duty to explain to the public what has happened.

A series of questions put to the BHB by Opposition MP Louise Jackson did get responses but “no real answers,” according to Mr Selley.

“The Ministry, or him as the Minister, is not being open and honest with the public about some of things that are going on with the Ministry, especially concerning the hospital,” Mr Selley said yesterday.

The “Dr Thomas affair” and the fact that the hospital’s audited financial accounts were yet to be tabled in parliament, are two reasons why the Minister should resign, he added.

Mr DeSilva had assured the public that the accounts were to be tabled before the end of the last parliamentary session, Mr Selley said.

“The delay is most likely because there was stuff going on that should not have been going on,” he said.

Mr Selley questioned why Dr Thomas had been “in charge of giving bonuses to staff”.

“He was receiving bonuses for his performance. I cannot see how Dr Thomas was in a position to give bonuses when they had already decided his performance was not up to snuff.”

He said: “There are too many anomalies and I don’t think the Minister is being straightforward in his approach to the general public.”

Mr Selley reiterated concerns about Dr Thomas’ generous compensation package which, besides a basic salary of over $700,000, included several allowances.

“It just befuddles my little pea brain and then they tell us we don’t need to know.”

Mrs Jackson said the One Bermuda Alliance will be issuing a statement on the BHB’s responses to her questions today.

But Mr Selley said that the responses were an abuse of the confidentiality protocol.

“They were orchestrated responses and we are not going to get any answers because the hospitals’ Board operates in complete isolation,” he said.

Mr Selley added that BHAG had received nothing from the BHB since April when they brought a number of issues to its attention.

Chief among the issues are the group’s concerns about the hospitalists programme. The group considers that some of the recruits into the programme may not be properly qualified.

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Published Oct 4, 2012 at 9:05 am (Updated Oct 4, 2012 at 9:04 am)

Advocacy group calls for Health Minister to resign

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