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St. Maarten Medical Center Supervisory Council says it will no longer appoint Pereira


CAY HILL–The Supervisory Council of St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC) will no longer proceed with the appointment of the controversial Gersji Rodrigues Pereira as medical director of the institution.

The Council’s decision came amidst mounting concerns among hospital staffers, union, the Medical Specialists Association and Health Minister Cornelius de Weever over the appointment. The Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA) met with its members on Thursday to update them on the developments.

In a letter to the medical team, staff and stakeholders, late Wednesday evening, the Supervisory Council said after having considered all the circumstances surrounding the appointment of a prospective medical director and taking the best interest of SMMC into consideration, the appointment of a medical director “will not take place” as of Thursday, August 1 as planned.

The Council will, however, proceed with the appointment of Kees Klarenbeek as SMMC Financial Director as of August.

The Council said in recent weeks, an independent recruiting process had been completed where two individuals had been selected as prospective candidates for the vacant positions of medical director and financial director.

Negotiations taken place with the prospective candidate for the medical director’s post; however, no official appointment had been made.

“The Supervisory Council has been fully apprised of the circumstances surrounding the history of the prospective candidate and the Council has taken every opportunity to inform all stakeholders accordingly,” it was stated in the letter.

“The Supervisory Council is of the opinion that the position of medical director is a critical one, one which must be filled urgently. It is the view of the Supervisory Council that, the prospective candidate would have [to have-Ed.] provided the right level of medical management that is necessary and is required by the SMMC to adequately fulfil the duties of the medical director of the SMMC.

“However, in light of the regretful, unfair and at times emotional reactions and threats within the past few days, the Supervisory Council believes it is highly unlikely that the prospective candidate will be able to function optimally,” the Council said in the letter.

The Council said working outside the Articles of Incorporation-thus the Law-is “definitely not an option” it pursues; as the obligation to do so and the responsibilities resulting from this lies with the Supervisory Council.

“We continue to count on the union, as well as staff and personnel to cooperate with us in complying with the established rules and regulations.

“The Supervisory Council looks forward to the continued cooperation of all personnel with the appointment of Mr. Kees Klarenbeek as the financial director.”

Medical Centre staff held an hour-long meeting and mini-protest action against the appointment of Periera at the medical facility on Wednesday. Their concerns stemmed from the negative publicity Periera drew in the Dutch press over his handling of life-threatening infections uncovered in operating theatres in a hospital he oversaw in The Netherlands.

An article published in Algemeen Dagblad in 2008 said Pereira had been aware of “life-threatening infections” in operating rooms at IJsselmeer hospitals in The Netherlands, which he had been running at the time, but had done nothing about it. The Dutch article said the Health Care Inspectorate had closed seven operating rooms at the institution due to “unacceptable risks of infection.”

The article said municipalities, county and unions had no confidence in Pereira, who is said to have more than 20 years experience in health care.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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