Minister tells NFP to check their facts on heart surgeries

Minister tells NFP to check their facts on heart surgeries

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/10/2015
Minister for Health, Jone Usamate

Minister for Health, Jone Usamate states that the National Federation Party has been providing inaccurate information in its press release and it needs to make sure to check its facts about heart surgeries.

NFP Leader Biman Prasad had questioned whether bureaucracy and legal wrangling has resulted in deaths of two patients urgently requiring life-saving open‑heart surgery.

Prasad had also claimed that they have been informed that 20 patients booked for open‑heart surgery, who had already collected funds and granted the reduced sum of $5000 each by the Health Ministry, have had their surgery deferred indefinitely.

Prasad said this has to do something with the memorandum of agreement between the Ministry of Health and Sahyadri (Fiji), whose surgeons were providing specialist treatment to Fiji patients. 

He further said that 20 patients booked for open‑heart surgery are now in life and death situation.

When questioned by Fijivillage, the Health Minister said there was one death and not two as claimed by NFP and the cause of death was due to multiple organ failure.

Usamate says it is also confirmed that the patient was not an emergency case. 

He says NFP has also claimed that there were 20 patients, however the Health Ministry’s records state that there were only 12 booked for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery. 

Usamate clarifies that this is an elective surgery which requires booking in advance at hospitals and is not an emergency surgery. 

Out of the 12 that had booked, 3 private patients had fully paid their fees and their fees had been reimbursed.

Of the 9 who had applied for government assistance, 3 had fully met the requirement and have subsequently been assisted for surgery in India. 

These 3 patients were sent to Fortis Hospital last month.

The Health Ministry says unfortunately, the ministry was not informed about the withdrawal of Sahyadri Hospitals until the 6th of August this year by the CEO of Sahyadri Hospitals Ltd. 

Usamate says this was an area of great concern for the Ministry, as the safety of patients is paramount.

When we questioned Biman Prasad on the Health Ministry’s clarification and that these were not emergency heart surgeries, Prasad said they now have to analyze the Ministry’s information.

When asked on why he had said that these were emergency heart surgeries, Prasad says they will now look into this. 

He maintains that the issue needs to be clarified on how and when the ministry knew that Sahyadri Hospitals had withdrawn from this deal.

Usamate will give further details later.

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