Six HSA doctors gone

Six doctors have left the employment of the Health Services Authority in the less-than-90-day period since 1 December, 2004, the HSA has said in response to recent questions from the Caymanian Compass.

The HSA also acknowledged that three physicians have resigned since January, 2005.

The specialties of the departed doctors include cardiology, general practice, obstetrics/gynaecology, ophthalmology, and Accident and Emergency.

The HSA said the reasons for the doctors leaving include ‘major life changes due to Ivan, end of contract, return to homeland, set up private practice and other personal reasons.’

Although the HSA said it does not release the names of departed staff members as a matter of policy, the Caymanian Compass has learned that four of the doctors no longer with the HSA include cardiologist Neeraj Prasad, ophthalmologist Eugene Foley, Accident and Emergency physician Goran Radevic, and Obstetrician/Gynaecologist Howard Deosaran.

Efforts are being made to replace the lost doctors, the HSA said.

‘The Health Services is currently in active discussion with interested candidates and has made offers of employment to fill vacant positions directly.’

In addition to the physicians, the HSA said it also lost other staff as a result of Hurricane Ivan, but that it was continuing to recruit new staff through a variety of channels.

The HSA was under fire during the current session of the Legislative Assembly for needing supplementary appropriations totalling nearly $10 million.

The appropriations included a $4.82 million equity investment to subsidize operations loss, which was in addition to the original $4.5 million dollars allotted in the 2004/05 budget.

There was also a supplementary appropriation for $3 million as an equity investment for working capital.

Minister of Health Gilbert McLean admitted during the Finance Committee that the HSA has a fundamental problem with its management.

In debating the Supplemental Appropriation Bill, East End MLA Arden McLean questioned the command structure of the HSA.

‘I understand a legal advisor is the man in charge,’ said Mr. McLean, speaking of attorney Keith Myers.

‘We can’t have a legal consultant running the Health Services Authority,’ he added. ‘What happened to those young ladies? It’s not for Mr. Myers to run.’

After the departure of its former CEO Michael Elliott last March, the HSA appointed Eloise Reid its new CEO in May, and added Cathy Gomez as Chief Operating Officer and Lizzette Howell and Shirlene Henriques as Deputy CEOs.

In speaking in Finance Committee about the HSA’s management difficulties, however, Minister McLean did not address any possible effect of management on the staffing situation, only the effect it had on the financial difficulties.

Mr. McLean said more funding was what was needed to correct the situation.

‘From… what was once the Health Department and is not the HAS, it never had the type of capitalisation it needed to function,’ he said.

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