Dr Guy: Tufton must address allegations of interference in UHWI board resignations
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Opposition Spokesperson on Health and Wellness, Dr Morais Guy, says new assertions by the former chairman of the board of the University Hospital of the West Indies, Wayne Chai Chong, of ministerial interference and overreach in the work of the hospital board are serious and may constitute “ministerial misbehaviour.”
In his first public statement since resigning just over one week ago, Chai Chong said he walked after Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton decided to overturn a decision of the board to replace the hospital’s acting chief executive officer with another senior director.
Chai Chong scoffed at claims that the board he headed was “dysfunctional”, which led to it being dissolved by Tufton.
In a statement on Tuesday, Dr Guy said the former chairman’s detailing of the issues leading to his resignation and the subsequent firing of the board, gives a pattern of inappropriate behaviour in the recruitment of a new chief executive officer for the hospital.
Banker Patrick Hylton is set to lead the hospital board of management of the UHWI as Cabinet gave their approval for his appointment.
Dr Guy said Tufton must give a public explanation of his actions in what he dubbed as the “interfering in and circumventing of” the process in the recruitment. Indicating that it was the board’s duty and mandate to ensure transparency in executing the process, in which the Minister has no direct role, “the tale of out-of-place and unwarranted Ministerial subterfuge is, therefore, unbecoming and warrants further and better particulars from Dr Tufton,” Guy said.
The Opposition Spokesperson said in his previous statement on the issue, he told the nation that the recruitment was the cause of the bad relations between the Minister and the board. He indicated that he also warned that the matter had the potential to affect services at UHWI and the wider public health care system.
Dr Guy said that after the former chairman’s statement, he is more convinced of potential disruption at the hospital due to “bad blood between top management and top medical staff at the Hospital.”
The Opposition Spokesperson on Health and Wellness went on to say the issue is not one that will “disappear with the installation of the new Patrick Hylton-led board.”
“This issue, along with Ministerial interference which seems to have caused the recruited CEO not to take up the job after an orientation trip, remains a concern”, he said.