KHMH Commission of Inquiry Released Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 April 2010 00:00

The report by the Commission of Inquiry into irregularities at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was presented to the Prime Minister on Thursday April 22. The Guardian has since received a copy of the 106 page report which catalogues the work of the Commission as well as gives recommendations for the improvement of the operations at the KHMH.

The work of the Commission, comprised of Chairman Justice Adolph Lucas and commissioners, Julia Castillo representing the Ministry of Health, and Orvin

Nicholas representing the Trade Union Congress of Belize, began shortly after the swearing in on July 30, 2009. Public hearings were conducted from November 26, 2009 to December 18, 2009 during which 21 persons were called to testify.

After revision of its work, the Commission of Inquiry recommends that “1.) The KHMH has produced two regulations: (a) Handbook of Policies and (b) Disciplinary Procedures.” It goes on that, “there is also an urgent need for the production of a third handbook which will deal with the financial and stores aspects of the KHMHA based on a current and best practices. The role, authority and functions of the Internal Auditor of the institution should be clearly set out in this third handbook.” The report goes on, “2.) The Belize Health Information System should be fully implemented at KHMH…” the report asks that there be adequate training for members of staff who operate the system.  It also recommends that there be a tendering process for the KHMH in the areas of market supplies, medical and butane gases, uniforms, ground maintenance, security services, laundry services, other supplies intended to be purchased in bulk, and disposal of red waste. The rationale here is to “promote transparency and consequently would combat suspicious transactions in obtaining those services”.

There is also the recommendation that business transactions between staff members of the KHMH should first be approved by the KHMHA Board and that “when employees of KHMH obtain Government Contracts the Board should be expeditiously informed.” The recommendations continue to seek the establishment of a social work unit to determine patient’s ability to pay hospital fees. It further asks that systems be put in place to recover receivables either through the use of bailiffs or through some collection agency. Further recommendations include the establishment of procedures for importation and timely clearing of goods for the hospital. Finally, the report recommends that two instances of theft which were reported to the Commission be referred to the police along with any other case of misappropriation of KHMH property.