Opinion: Ugly situation

POSTED: 09/10/12 12:51 AM

What started with an ill-advised article on a local gossip web site has turned into a full blown war with Public Health Minister De Weever on one side and the St. Maarten Medical Center on the other.
When De Weever asked the supervisory board members of the medical center to take a hike, he obviously had little interest in the hospital’s articles of incorporation. But now the minister claims in his press statement that all care institutions must adhere to the laws that govern the healthcare sector and that the provisions in those laws are properly enforced.
Why do we get the feeling here that the hospital has to abide by the law, but that the minister does not have to respect the hospital’s articles of incorporation?
There is more though: the minister also notes that it is not uncommon that board members develop tunnel vision. This is, we understand from the statement, a condition that no longer allows such board members to see their faults. Board also may have established practices that are inconsistent with the rules that govern their institutions or that are questionable.
This is a fine political statement. Things are not uncommon and board members may have done this that or the other. Note that the minister is not bluntly stating that the members of the hospital’s supervisory board are burdened with these shortcomings. It is just not uncommon to occur, and they may have ….
But still, the suggestion is there. The kicker in the statement is of course the threat to revoke the hospital’s license. Again, this is not presented in a confrontational way, but in a roundabout way that leaves a politicians ample space to twist and turn. Just read the relevant sentence here: “The laws of our nation charge the minister of public health with the issuance of various care related licenses, the amendment of revocation of previously issued ones.”
As if that was not enough, the minister points out that he could initiate laws “that may have far reaching consequences.”
The extent to which the present laws allow government to intervene is far reaching and does not exclude intervening on the highest levels of any care institution, is another hefty one liner.
After all this rather blunt display of power politics, the minister notes that the situation at the medical center is very delicate, that it must be handled with the most care and as professional as possible.
We like that sentence were it not that the actions undertaken so far believe them. There is nothing professional about the way the ministry has handled this matter and as a result, the situation is deteriorating by the day.
The ministers seems bent on getting his way without paying any heed to the rules that govern the medical center. It is an ugly situation and we figure that it is about to get even uglier.

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