All is not well at St John Hospital

Letters, Normal

I AM a community member of Gerehu, the biggest suburb in the National Capital District, and I have been impressed with the good work provided by the untiring, dedicated and loyal nursing staff as well as the clerical and general staff of St John Hospital. It is capably managed and led by the hospital manageress and her team of doctors and HEOs. The St John Ambulance reached an understanding with the Health Department in 2008 for a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement to take over and manage the Gerehu Clinic after it has been refurbished and upgraded to a level 5 hospital status. The arrangement required the Health Department to allocate K250,000 every quarter to St John as the implementer, or provider, of health services through the St John Hospital. I understand that this money is for the upkeep and transparent management of the hospital. This money is not for St John’s administration to use for funding the other operations like Volunteers, Ambulance, Blind and Training. However, lately there has been talk that some of this money have been used to pay St John headquarters staff salaries and security guards and its various bills. Why is this money kept in the main St John operating account and being used to finance other St John’s operations? It is imperative that for accountability and transparency purposes, the funds should be kept in a separate hospital operating account. Furthermore, the monies collected from patients under the userpay policy should be retained by the hospital in an operating account and not deposited into the main St John account. St John must explain why an operating account (patients’ fees) for the hospital has not been opened. Because of this, staff members find it very hard to access funds to procure basic necessities such as soap, toilet paper, photo-copy papers, hand towels, detergents, stationeries, etc for the smooth operation of the hospital. The hospital makes more than K2,000 alone in patients’ fees every week which are collected by the St John HQ. What happens to these fees? I notice that the St John Hospital staff work a 24-hour, seven-day shift and it saddens me to hear often they are not paid on time, sometimes a week late. But the workers are so dedicated and loyal that they slog on for another week. Overtime hours are either not paid, or cut back. This stupidity must stop. The St John administration must come up with a workable solution to this chronic problem besetting its dedicated and loyal medical and general staff. Is this too much to ask for?


Watchdog, Gerehu,