The GSD says it has had many complaints over the festive period 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 party says that 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 Opposition adds that this could have been avoided if the Government had prioritised the completion of the Dementia Residential Unit. The GSD says that despite spending £750 million in capital projects over the first four years of its term in office, they did not do so.
A statement continued: “Indeed, on 22 September 2015, the then Minister for Health, Dr. Cortes, stated that the 50 bed Residential 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 communiqué 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 residential unit 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 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 Residential Unit. 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.”