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Union responds to St. Maarten Medical Center Council's move not to appoint Pereira

TUESDAY, 06 AUGUST 2013

CAY HILL–The person selected to serve as Medical Director for St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) should have a personality conducive to improving the image of the medical facility.The Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA) communicated this view to SMMC’s Supervisory Council in response to its decision to not appoint
controversial Gersji Rodrigues Pereira as SMMC’s Medical Director.

In a letter dated August 2, the union said the hospital staff was in “full agreement” with the Supervisory Council’s view
that the position of medical director is a critical one and that the prospective candidate would need the right level of medical management. “However, we feel that the right candidate would also require a personality conducive to
improving SMMC’s image and internal and external relationships for the betterment of our organization,” WIHCUA President Julian Lynch said in the letter.

Lynch, who said the Council’s letter forwarded to the union on August 1, had been undated, also said the SMMC staff is requesting an explanation from the Council why it went against all advice in continuing the appointment. “You were unwilling to share what his [Pereira’s – Ed.] extraordinary redemptive qualities were that justified your stance. It is seen as a negative point on your side that you only retracted the appointment under due pressure, and then did so by placing blame of him not being able to perform due to the non cooperation of the staff. We assume that Clarence Richardson, in his role as Supervisory Council advisor, saved the day by recommending the retraction of Pereira’s appointment. It shows that experience counts more than book sense,” Lynch said.

Lynch said, what is regrettable is that the supervisory council sees standing up to defend the principles of the hospital’s organizational pillars of health, safety and satisfaction for all, should be condemned as an “unfair and emotional reaction” by the staff. “Not informing management team regarding Pereira’s background is seen as unfair and certainly not conducive to transparency. The only threat that we perceived was the threat you made to hire someone with a shady past and questionable work ethics that could have had a very negative effect on SMMC,” Lynch said in the letter.

“Therefore, considering the similar reactions by the management team, medical specialists as well as the Minister of Health [Cornelius de Weever – Ed.] to the appointment of the candidate chosen by the supervisory council, we do not consider our awareness action at all unreasonable.” Lynch said the Supervisory Council should have been aware of the difficult times and controversy SMMC already experienced, especially over the last year.

“You should have foreseen the negative impact this candidate would have on rebuilding trust and confidence of the community and staff.” “The Supervisory Council, in desiring cooperation of personnel, should keep in mind that such can only be achieved if mutual respect and the best interests of SMMC are kept as the primary goals.”The Supervisory Council
said in its letter to the medical team, staff and stakeholders last Thursday that it will no longer proceed as Medical Director of the institution, because “it is highly unlikely that the prospective candidate will be able to function optimally,” given the “regretful, unfair and at times emotional reactions and threats within the past few days.”

The Council will, however, proceed with the appointment of Kees Klarenbeek as SMMC’s Financial Director as of August.
Concerns over Pereira’s appointment 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.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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