Saints ‘going without care’ since clinics closed

A lack of equipment in St Helena’s hospital is exposed in the Wass Report.

“We found that the hospital lacked the rudimentary facilities required for the care of the sick,” it says.

“We were told by nurses that there was only enough running hot water for one bath; that the dishwasher and bedpan washer had been broken for three years; and that the hospital relied on the charitable donations of others for fundamental equipment.

“For example, the only operating table had been donated by the previous surgeon when he left his post.

“We were also told that regional health clinics had closed and not been replaced, meaning that sick and vulnerable St Helenians living in remote parts of the island were not receiving medical attention. The inquiry panel was disturbed to learn that the governor appeared to be unsure about when these clinics had actually closed.”

The inquiry team visited the hospital because it had an impact on child welfare.

St Helena Government has already announced an extensive upgrade of the hospital, and work is under way.

The Wass report says clinics should be opened to give people in remote parts of the island have easy access to medical care. This would help staff spot early signs of abuse and monitor very young families, it says.

At the press conference held in response to the report, chief secretary Roy Burke said the government would look into reopening local clinics.

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