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GHA ‘in disarray’, Together Gibraltar says

St Bernard's Hospital. Photo by Eyleen Gomez

Together Gibraltar raised concerns on Thursday about what it described as “a GHA in disarray”.

TG said it had received reports of “a multitude of managerial bad practices” that that party said were impacting the morale of the workers and the quality of the services provided.

It claimed nepotism had become “an endemic problem”.

TG said it had been asked to keep the reports anonymous “due to fear of reprisals” but that they came from hospital staff, patients and families of service users.

It echoed concerns raised by NGOs and highlighted issues with the provision of mental healthcare, which it said continued to deteriorate despite the launch of a new strategy.

“As highlighted by the Mental Welfare Society, it continues to be very difficult for people to get appointments with a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and when they do, these are often cancelled,” TG said.

“Instead, patients in need of specialised attention are being seen by approved ‘Mental Health Practitioners’ who often lack the necessary skills and qualifications to deal with acute cases.”

“It has also been brought to the party’s attention that mental health professionals are either resigning or not having contracts renewed, and that these changes often occur in the midst of bad managerial practices, seemingly arbitrary decision making and nepotism.”

TG noted that the Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, had recently delivered a presentation on the Gibraltar Mental Health Strategy to the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London.

“TG wonders whether the current failings of the system and its further deterioration since the new strategy was introduced were discussed,” it said.

“TG is well aware that this is an unfolding, five-year strategy, but it is also aware that many of the users of this service simply cannot wait any longer.”

“Government must ensure that the necessary resources are made available now.”

TG highlighted what it described as “issues of bad management” in other areas of health provision too.

“The party has received a plethora of testimonies reporting arbitrary and nepotistic decision-making in GHA human resources management, with the least qualified and experienced candidates being appointed over other, better qualified candidates on the basis of nationality or political allegiance,” the party said.

“Together Gibraltar understands the need to provide employment for the local workforce, however, it does not condone these policies in a GHA context.”

“The party believes that the lives of our citizens should be in the hands of the best and brightest professionals we can access, and that only meritocracy should guide the management of human resources in our hospital.”

TG added too that Ms Sacramento had for months “been ignoring” efforts by the party’s leader, Marlene Hassan Nahon, to make representations to her on behalf of aggrieved citizens.

“The Minister is simply ignoring repeated requests to discuss important health issues affecting constituents, a practice that goes against what has become the norm for ministers in Gibraltar, certainly for Ms Hassan Nahon in her dealings with previous ministers,” TG said.

“All these issues contribute to a growing sense that the GHA is in a general state of disarray, something that is being perceived both by workers and service users and that requires drastic and urgent action from Government.”

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