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Cuban doctors are defecting

Health Minister Senator Jonathan LaCrette – will have to address a number of major and critical issues that fall under his portfolio

A high-profile medical doctor in Grenada has revealed that Cuban doctors sent by Havana as part of a mission to help man the island’s healthcare system are defecting to other neighbouring islands as part of a racket and then returning to the country to engage in some cases in illegal private practice.

The doctor who chose to remain anonymous made the stunning revelation in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY.

“The place is in a state because of this Cuban mission thing and Grenada is like a soft touch,” he said.

“One (Cuban) just defected recently – he stayed less than a year. There is one that defected before – went away. I understand that he is back in the country and working – he is not registered to work,” he added.

According to the senior medical doctor, some of his own colleagues are aiding and abetting the Cubans in this illegality by hiring them and giving them work “on the side.”

He said that these Cuban doctors are practicing medicine underneath and also engaged “in overcharging people” for the medical services rendered to them.

The doctor alleged that “a lot of wrong things” are happening in the medical profession in the country and called on the new Dickon Mitchell-led Congress administration to address the situation.

“When they (the Cubans) are here on mission they are not allowed to practice outside (in private),” he said.

In addition, he said that most of the Cuban doctors sent to the island by Havana “are not duly registered (and) they do not have any cover for in case something happens (to a patient) they can pay for it.”

“Some of them are doing things (practicing medicine) outside (of the hospital) – they can’t do it in the open but somebody has to bring them in – they just can’t do it by themselves,” he remarked.

The medical expert warned the seven month old government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell that it can be taken to task as these Cubans who are doing medicine are allowed to operate and function not in keeping with the law.

He said the problem will manifest itself when there is a legal issue at hand with any of these Cuban doctors because the State will be forced “to hide them because you can’t go before a lawyer (in court) as a defendant and you are not registered – right away you can’t fight a case.”

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“I am telling you that those working in the hospital now are not registered. Grenada is too much of a soft touch,” he added.

The medical specialist also called on the Congress administration to review the agreement between Havana and St George’s for Cuban doctors to be sent to the Spice Isle.

He said: “Some of the people they send for us are no good – they’re giving us the bottom of the basket. If you investigate this whole thing properly this thing is just a money making thing for Cuba.”

The local doctor cited a situation that took place “a few years ago” in which Brazil was forced to send back to Havana over a hundred of them.

He said the Brazilians took the position that Cuba will not be allowed to just send any doctor to them and they insisted on the right to be part of the selection process.

He spoke of the government in Brazil requesting the Cubans to send the CVs’ of the doctors for them to review their qualifications in order to allow them “to pick who we want.”

He accused the Cubans of just sending out hundreds of medical doctors to work in the Third World as these people “make money for them” and in the case of Grenada they are sending “any old thing” to the island.

He stressed that the trainee system for doctors in Cuba is not like the United States, Britain and other developed countries.

He dropped hints that some of the Cubans sent to work in Grenada have not been trained to work on their own yet independently and still have “to work under somebody because you don’t reach that level yet.”

“It’s ridiculous and something has to be done,” he said.

The experienced doctor called on the new government to start “concentrating on building our own capacity” in order to help with the transformational agenda in the health sector.

“…We’re too much relying on quick fix. This thing needs to stop,” he said.

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