Confusion surrounds state of hospital drug shortages

| 30/08/2017 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour

(CNS): MLA Alva Suckoo struggled to get a comprehensive answer to a key question in parliament Friday about the problems with the supply of critical medications at the hospital pharmacy. Dwayne Seymour, the new health minister, whose chief officer was on vacation and therefore unavailable, struggled throughout the day to address questions about his new portfolio and gave conflicting responses over the enquiries about medication. Suckoo, the opposition member for Newlands, had filed a parliamentary question regarding concerns about the supply of certain drugs.

Seymour initially denied that there were any significant shortages or supply problems with antibiotics or other regular and frequently used medication, but after supplementary questions were asked, where members spoke about their knowledge of shortages, lack of payment and other potential challenges, the minister accepted that there could have been problems and they may be ongoing, and said he would look into it as soon as possible.

Suckoo said the question had been asked in the House before and that health service officials had denied shortages then, too. He said nothing had changed and this was evidently still a problem because people were not able to get the medications they needed. He said the minister did not need to worry about him, but rather the constituents who needed their medications in a timely manner.

“I am not trying to embarrass the minister or make him feel as if he is not doing his job. I am just trying to get these issues resolved as I get the complaints,” he said.

Seymour then admitted that he had also heard the same concerns and said he would take particular interest to ensure that the members were supplied with accurate information, and if he wasn’t satisfied with the response he would ensure it was rectified.

The day got worse for Seymour, however, as more questions were raised during the Finance Committee process about his ministry.

When discussion focussed on the increases and decreases in expected spending by government over the course of the last administration, Seymour, who has been at the helm of the health ministry for three months, struggled to answer most of the questions about his portfolio. He was unable to answer questions about increases in costs at clinics, ambulance services, the cancer registry and HIV education in schools.

He was forced to commit to getting the requested information to the members at a later date, in writing when his chief officer, Jennifer Ahearn, was back.

The former speaker and veteran minister, Julianna O’Connor-Connolly said the absence of the chief officer was unfair to the minister and she pointed out that senior civil servants should not be taking vacation when Finance Committee or other important meetings were taking place.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (78)

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  1. Blame The Straights says:

    Do you know that heterosexual intercourse is the number 1 cause of gay people being born?

  2. Caymanian says:

    T the writer below;
    What an anology? But your point is clear, I wonder if he would be capable to handle the toilet paper counting.

    If, Heaven forbid, he worked in the Private Sector and had been promoted to Department Head of say janitorial supplies – after three months what would his CEO say if he could not explain why there was a dire shortage of toilet rolls…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why is everyone so surprised about poor Dwayne not knowing which way is up. That’s what happens when we elect low intelligence people to be MLAs and eventually Ministers. Anthony Eden in the nineties was utterly clueless about his ass from his elbow but the government of the day gave him two excellent civil servants from the Education Department to serve him and they did so brilliantly, making Eden look good. Alden needs to make sure these clueless ministers have very bright civil servants to do their work for them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dumbfounded, literally., is anyone with sense surprised? We are all in the shitter if a real big crisis happens. You can’t send school boys to do soldier’s work.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If we weren’t so liberal with duty concessions to the wealthy, likely payouts to “frens” for properties and God knows what else, we
    might be able to afford to buy medication for our people. Greed and
    corruption on steroids!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jon Jon deserves all the criticism that I see on here as he is the minister of Health and is being paid to know, however, Alden also has to take his share of the blame for putting him in that position in the first place.

    Alden had a choice between Jon Jon and Ezzard for the minister of Health and he chose Jon Jon, because he cannot dictate to Ezzard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard didn’t want Minister of Health in a PPM government…in fact he never wanted to work with a PPM led government at all. So, no, Alden didn’t have that choice. I do agree that Dwayne as a minister is farcical.

      • Unison says:

        Dwayne is an asset to Alden. He needed someone to represent Bodden Town. I believe it was political PPM interest that got him the porfolio. Ezzard ia better off being Opposition. He is good critic

    • Anonymous says:

      Listen, Arden and Ezzard are joined at the hip. Ezzard cant work with McKeeva and Arden cant work with Alden. So the two of them were screwed to begin with.

      Also, usually, when you apply for a job, at the very least you should know a lot (maybe not everything) of what the job is about.

  7. Unison says:

    Remember this is the same Seymour that jumps on Alden’s side, and PROBABLY FOR REPUTATION SAKE, rejects Miller’s proposed health review on the crisis in local healthcare provision …

    When dealing with healthcare, you should never become political and attempt to run things your way. It should be unitive effort. :/

    • Anonymous says:

      Also the same Dwayne Seymour who was stopping all issuance of work permits once elected. Haven’t heard a thing about that since he became a “yes man”

      • Anonymous says:

        That was never more than campaign rhetoric to appease the naive voting public. Either that or John John is a fool. Cayman with a moratorium on permits would rapidly fall into an economic down-spiral. Ask anyone with a reasonable grasp of business or economics and I expect they will agree.

        Back in the 80’s, Bodden Town candidate George Ebanks expounded the same thing, essentially no permits should be issued while a single Caymanian remained unemployed. So no bank manager permits, no permits for specialized new businesses, etc. as long as one guy with no qualifications, a bad attitude, using drugs and not willing to show up on Mondays or Fridays, is saying he wants to work. Hotels would shutter due to inability to clean guest rooms, lawns would remain uncut, garbage uncollected, patients at the hospital left without nurses or doctors.

        I say bullshit. Over 95% of Caymanians have jobs, and I would hope that politicians would spend more time on making sure they have good opportunities to advance, that school leavers are equipped to work, and returning Caymanians with qualifications are given fair consideration, than constantly pandering to the essentially unemployable wasters.

        Apologies to the small percentage of qualified Caymanians with good work ethic who are overlooked for employment because of the bad reputation that the wasters leave in their wake. This is not a unique Caymanian situation.
        As an employer for the last 30 plus years, I have always made a major effort to hire Caymanian applicants if at all possible, with a high percentage of success.


        • Anonymous says:

          What do you say to the fact that almost 40% of working Caymanians earn less than $2500 a month ? Do you see that as a problem ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Soooo true

  8. Anonymous says:

    Minister Seymour gave a comprehensive answer but Al suckoo didnt want to accept it, he is just jealous he wasnt called by Alden on May 24th among other things i Wish not to discuss.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha one thing I know with certainty! Suckoo wasn’t going to kiss the ring and make Alden and that bunch continue their pandering to the elite

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes John-john we read you loud and clear. We see wha u sayin!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with your comment is that the finance committee were recorded on film. Anyone who watches it, and I did, could not possibly think that Minister Seymour came anywhere close to giving comprehensive answers. You might be upset about something else but don’t just make stuff up as you go along, especially when you can be so easily disproved. Please remember political loyalty is one thing but some things should rise above, like the availability of quality health care and medications for the people living in this country.

  9. Anonymous says:

    you can’t expect a minister to know anything about his portfolio, they are just there to parrot what their dept head tells them and look big and knowledgeable to justify their huge salary.

    Just shows these guys care about nothing but their own prestige.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Not surprised at all. Suckoo was doing a better job at discriminating against peoples lifestyle choices. Don’t give up your day job, even if you are an ass.

    • Anonymous says:

      So to stand up for our Christian heritage and way of life and to protect the definition of marriage as it is defined in our constitution as between a man and a woman is discrimination ? You are either one of Wayne’s disciples or one of those who came here to change these islands to suit yourself. Mr Suckoo stood up when all the other so called loyal representatives buckled under pressure and failed that is why he is back in the job! I only wish he was Premier instead of the weak flexible fella we have there now

    • Anonymous says:

      What you refer to is not a “lifestyle choice” Being born deaf or blind is not a lifestyle “choice” either.

      • Anonymous says:

        And yet while there is clear evidence that one can be born deaf or blind there is absolutely no scientific evidence that one can be born gay. Funny how the anti-Christian point to science when it suits their argument and then completely ignore it when it it doesn’t support the position they hold… which can only be held in blind faith. Hmmmmmmmm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you know that gay and bisexual men accounted for 82 percent of HIV diagnoses among males and 67 percent of all diagnoses. These are 2015 numbers so probably higher now.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I can neither confirm or deny that there is a shortage. You see it was a scheme… a plan… You wouldn’t understand because I certainly don’t.

  12. Take Dat says:

    Dahwahunnaget. Gine voting for Alden and McKeeva and dey concocted a new one and throw over unna – government of of national unity hahaha. All Alden wanted was to stay premier, all Mc wanted was a excuse to travel up and down and somebody to pay for it. Opportunity knock on Jon Jon door and he took it.
    Now tell me something. Since these problems been going on for a long time, why didn’t the former health Minister jump up and help out Jon Jon since he know all things about all things. Yes, you Alden, why didnt you help out your minister with these questions. You probably didn’t even now that there were problems let alone if any thing was being done bout them.
    Like a say – dahwhaunnaget.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure the minister approved her leave. No one knows when the LA is going to meet including the ministers. So how can staff plan their leave. LA Meeting dates are only known by the privileged few.

    Ezzard has been complaining about these surprise sittings for years.

    The HSA should have been present to answer the majority of these questions not the chief officer

    The acting CO ( born Caymanian) was present.

    Thank you Ms Ahearn for giving Caymanians an opportunity to act for you and to gain valuable experience.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “John John”, nah man, “joke, joke”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What can you say – another incompetent in an important government position. Clearly not familiar with the old ” 5 P’s ” rule – “Preparation prevents piss poor performance”

    • Anonymous says:

      Ju Ju should be the last person to talk about taking vacation. Where have you been for the past 3 mths. ?

    • Anonymous says:

      That ‘s 7 p’s…Proper Prior Plannning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

  16. Harvey says:

    Well why is the Chief Officer on vacation? Is it not mandatory for them to be their when the LA is in session? This is a joke right?

    • Anonymous says:

      John John needs Ozzie’s friend driftwood to answer simple questions what a damn joke. Let all expats leave… oh wait driftwood isn’t here to answer these questions for me.

    • Anonymous says:

      “there” not “their”. Please do not perpetuate the poor use of English.

    • Anonymous says:

      People plan vacations months ahead of time, the schedule for the LA doesn’t seem to exist so would be impossible.

  17. Veritas says:

    The classic case of Civil Service Hierarchy, put someone with connections at the top on a stratospheric salary and immediately employ an educated, qualified subordinate to actually do his job for him.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That’s right: blame the Chief Officer.

  19. Hello says:

    To be frank, I’m not surprised to see him struggle in this regard..

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why exactly is Jannifer Ahern on vacation, when the house is sitting?..
    She has just had the summer recess to take this opportunity…honestly, I sometimes wonder what we are paying these people for?

    • Anonymous says:

      July and August are school holidays for the majority of school children in Cayman – civil servants make family vacation plans to sometimes take their little ones away like everyone else – of course they try to work around important LA dates but often do not know until the “11th hour” when these sessions take place.

      Can we expect the best rather than assume the worst?

    • Anonymous says:

      How about: why exactly is it that JohnJohn doesn’t know anything about his job? He has had three months to take this opportunity… honestly, I sometimes wonder what we are paying these people for?

    • Mokes-for-all says:

      Probably because first and foremost she is a mother, and one of her kids is going away for the first time to school in Canada to start the new school year, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that she might want to accompany them. Ignorance should not be an excuse for rudeness.

  21. Bobo says:

    Lets be realistic the man only been there for three months. So I feel he need to be given a break.

    • Anonymous says:

      So someone needing antibiotics should wait three months as well?

    • Anonymous says:

      If, Heaven forbid, he worked in the Private Sector and had been promoted to Department Head of say janitorial supplies – after three months what would his CEO say if he could not explain why there was a dire shortage of toilet rolls…..

    • Veritas says:

      Bobo- I completely agree, a break for 4 years or until the next election whichever is earlier.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hot mess!!!

  23. Jotnar says:

    Not the ministers fault of course. Just blame the driftwood Chief Officer for daring to take leave! Does the man even know the basics of the department he is meant to be in charge of?

  24. Unison says:

    Hmmm … Now Dwayne is a people-person.

    But just because he is liked, don’t mean he is fit for the job. Maybe some other portfolio.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Everyone except john-john knows that Ms. Ahearn is the real minister of health.

  26. Anonymous says:

    John-john is in way over his head. I actually feel sorry for him. This is a royal mess

  27. Anonymous says:

    All hiel the Juju and ministers…there are clearly more that hold the same “f%$king driftwood” entitlement towards Ahearn that Osbourne Bodden holds. Who approved her vacation we might have asked? It seems unlikely that she approved her own “Labor Day” vacation without sign-off from superiors who would have known the LA schedule. Blaming her for not being present to answer a random ministry question is sad and misplaced.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh!! Okay. No need to take any responsibility here. Nothing to see. Let’s just blame this on Jennifer Ahearn. I knew it couldn’t be Dwayne’s fault.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Goes to show what Ozzie did in office. Collect a fat salary, make cow cods and disrespect his CO. All which amount to nothing! What a worthless man!

  30. Anonymous says:

    this ‘performance’ would be a matter of resignation anywhere else in the world……

  31. Fed up says:

    What a shame first impression is a lasting impression

  32. Anonymous says:

    Haven’t got a clue , Ezzard would have known!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard don’t know his ass from his elbow.

      • Anonymous says:

        At least he would be more qualified than you and John Seymour and also the entire cabinet. Come on give Ezzard his due! He would not put the blame on an expat. I can vouch he would be totally prepared. I wonder what the international community thinks ! Come to the conclusion that we must be a bunch of uneducated fools.

    • Anonymous says:

      HSA also need to ensure compliance with the Islands obligations under the International Copyright treaties. For example, the pharmacy cannot import drugs from India which are intended only for sale in India.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what we get out of expats who are conveniently Caymanian.

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