Chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Dr Lackram Bodoe said a back-up of medical waste at the San Fernando General Hospital had to do with a delay in payment to a contractor and not the malfunctioning of the incinerator.
Responding to complaints about the dangers posed by the accumulated medical waste, which included amputated limbs, needles, and bloodstained items, Bodoe assured that the $9 million incinerator installed last year was functioning well.
He said it was allowed to accumulate because daily paid workers refused to work on Tuesday.
Speaking with members of the media at SWRHA’s symposium on leadership at the Southern Academy of Performing Arts on Wednesday, Bodoe said:
“I want to give the assurance that the incinerator itself is working well.
“It is a new incinerator that was installed last year and the issue had to do with a contractor who was supposed to remove the garbage and there was a delay of funding and that is what created a temporary situation yesterday.”
Asked how soon the situation will be rectified, he said: “I have just been given the assurance by the CEO that the matter is being dealt with as we speak, so I expect by the end of the day it will be sorted out.”
In addition, Bodoe said the SWRHA was also considering introducing a new type of technology, called the radio wave technology for incineration, which was much more atmosphere friendly.
However, a Public Service Association representative, who wished to remain anonymous, said the incinerator had been breaking down on a regular basis since it was installed last year and was not working at this time.
“They even had to revert to the old incinerator and that is unsafe and unhealthy to people operating that incinerator. Since last week Thursday the incinerator (new one) is down,” he added.
He said workers took the action on Tuesday because since last week they were assured that the garbage problem would have been sorted out.