Inspectorate appeals hospital court verdict

POSTED: 05/27/13 1:55 PM

St. Maarten – The Public Health Inspectorate plans to take its case to the Court of Appeals and contest the decision of the Court of First Instance in favor of the St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC).
Yesterday, Inspector General Dr. Earl Best issued a release in which he indicated that parts of the final ruling in the appeal of the hospital against the Inspectorate will be contested.
“The reported findings by the Inspectorate on the situation that existed in the medical center were the result of almost 9 months of extensive investigation and several conducted inspections. Still, the Court of First Instance regretfully ruled that the findings and 13 demands imposed by the Inspectorate premised on these findings were not sufficiently motivated and/or could not be established.
This part of the ruling by the Court is both factually and judicially incorrect. It moreover jeopardizes the rights and effective capability of the Inspectorate to be able to in any given situation establish possible shortcomings and more importantly act decisively to remedy same. In essence it makes it impossible and in any case very challenging for the Inspectorate to fulfill its legal obligation to ensure that proper quality of care is rendered,” a release from the Inspectorate which falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor read.
On May 20 the Court of First Instance ruled in favor of the hospital in the appeal of the hospital against the demands which the Inspectorate had imposed on the hospital on October 12 of last year.
On that day, the Inspectorate imposed 13 measures upon the hospital “to ensure that good basic quality of care is rendered in the hospital.”

These measures were imposed after the Inspectorate established in its latest report from September 7 following an extensive investigation, that the care rendered was sub-optimal or sub-standard.
Despite its objections to several parts of the Court’s ruling, the Inspectorate said that it was still pleased to see that the Court upheld its authority and the rights to be able to conduct governance-related-supervision on health care institutions, “despite the fact that the hospital has always strongly contested this supervision right by the Inspectorate.”
The Inspectorate says that it acknowledges the efforts made by the hospital, “notwithstanding the suspension of the demands imposed by the Inspectorate by the Court of First Instance in November 2012, to this date to comply with the demands imposed.” While the hospital has since complied with some of the demands of the Inspectorate, communication between the two agencies has also improved
within the past five months.
A proficient and efficient working Inspectorate requires continues accessing and determining by medical experts in the service of the Inspectorate, whether or not care providers are abiding to the law and providing the requisite level of medical care, the Inspectorate concluded.

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