By Ayo Johnson, the Royal Gazette
for seniors Louise Jackson yesterday urged Government to get on with
providing essential healthcare services and facilities for the
And the septuagenarian’s
contribution to the debate on the Health Ministry’s budget allocations
contained a warning that the Country’s elderly were pro-active and
prepared to fight for their rights.
“We are not going to lie
down and die,” Mrs. Jackson said during yesterday’s House of Assembly
“We are going to stand
up, and we want to be heard. We want to be consulted, we want to be there
... when you have all these meetings how many seniors are involved in
“We are not going to lie
down and die.”
Mrs. Jackson decried the
fact that there was only one geriatrician at the hospital, the lack of a
rehabilitation unit and she alleged that district nurses were not given
essential supplies to take with them on their rounds as they meted out
geriatrician often had to treat people with Alzheimer’s even though that
was not his speciality, she said.
She said that senior
citizens had spent a lifetime paying taxes only to be treated shabbily at
the end of their days.
“All I’m saying is
it’s my turn now.
“And it’s the turn of
all the other seniors who want to have decent healthcare.”
She claimed that seniors
had to take their own medication to the hospital when admitted and that
many would not be fed if their family members did not take them food.
“I’ve never seen
anything like it in my life,” the Pembroke South West MP said.
She also informed the
House of a practice called “granny dumping” which she said often
occurred at the weekends.
“People take an elderly
relative to the hospital and they coach the person to say they have chest
pains or shortness of breath and they are seen immediately ... They are
left there and they might have to stay there all night. Then they may have
to wait for someone to die before they get a bed.”
She said: “We really
need an elder care complaints board – somebody to advise and adjudicate
any problems of the aged (like discrimination or physical abuse).”
She went on to question
why HIP covers medication needed during hospital stays, but not during
recuperation at home.
And she described as
“frightening” the rate at which elderly patients were receiving
“Tell me something about
the staph infections,” she said. “It’s frightening to go to the
hospital and see how many patients you have to go visit and put on a mask
and gloves because they have this infection ... I’m saying they went
into the hospital without it and got the infection coming out.”
But Mrs. Jackson was
careful to praise healthcare professionals and administrators at the
Hospital, and faulted Government for not providing adequate resources.
“We don’t have a
people problem. We don’t have a doctor or nurses problem. The people
there are fine – I cannot repeat this enough but they lack something to
work with,” she said.
“The money needs to be put in the proper place.”