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Government lack of priorities the cause of bed shortages – GSD

The GSD has said that the bed shortages over the festive period could have been avoided if the Government had prioritised the Dementia Day Care Centre and Residential Unit.

In a statement the GSD said it received many complaints from patients either at Xanit in Spain ‘waiting for days’ to be transferred to St Bernard’s Hospital or waiting for hours at the Accident and Emergency because of lack of available beds on hospital wards.

“The main reason for the lack of beds is that many beds are taken by elderly long term patients and those with dementia, which in April 2016 accounted for 48% of bed occupancy,” the GSD said.

This, it added, could have been avoided if the Government had prioritised the Dementia Day Care Centre and Residential Unit.

“Despite spending £750 million in capital projects over the first four years of its term in office, they did not do so.”

According to the GSD in September of 2015 the then Minister for Health, Dr John. Cortes, stated that the Resident Unit would be handed over by the contractor by the end of 2015.

“When that failed to materialise and pressed by Opposition Member Roy Clinton, Minister Cortes issued a communique on 6 June 2016, stating that “we are very close indeed to opening the new Unit” only for the Government to disappoint sufferers of dementia and their families when Minister Costa announced in Parliament on 21 December 2016 that the building would not be handed over by the contractor until April 2017.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham, said: “It is appalling that five years after they were elected into Government, St Bernard’s hospital is experiencing these problems with bed shortages caused, in large part, by the Government’s failure to properly prioritise the completion of the Dementia Day Care Centre and Residential Unit.”

“The lack of beds at St Bernard’s has caused a lot of distress to patients affected and their families. Very often the brunt of the frustrations are being borne by the staff at the hospital”.

“I know that Mr Picardo does not like me reminding him, but the £6 million the Government spent on his very plush offices would have been better spent in the interests of the community completing the Unit.”

He added: “For a Government that has freely spent so much money over the last five years it should have prioritised this project.  That would have freed very much needed beds at St Bernard’s.”



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