Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Opposition accuse Government of ‘St Bernard’s blunder’

The GSLP/Libs said yesterday that part of the roof of the old Wine Factory building at Waterport, which was converted by the Government as a kitchen for the production of meals for the Europort Hospital, has been damaged due to water penetration.

The Chronicle understands the damage was minor and affected a toilet area although the catering was not interrupted by the incident.

The damage, said the Opposition, has affected the area where the changing-rooms of the staff are situated, and fortunately not the part involved in the preparation of the food.

This once again proves the lack of forward planning by the Government who should have had the building checked by carrying out a structural survey. It is totally unacceptable that after so many years planning for the transfer of St Bernard’s to the Europort building, such basic things like a survey should not have been taken into account,” the Opposition said.

Visitors to the Hospital have also contacted them yesterday to inform them that the entrance door to St Bernard’s does not work properly.

It appears that its sensor cannot cope when gusts of wind hit the door and it opens automatically, which in turn affects the heating of the area in question. The roof to the entrance door has not been modified to take into account heavy rainfalls, and people going into the hospital and out of it have to move across, so as to avoid being drenched with the water that cascades down from it.

More importantly, we have also been informed that Rainbow Ward, Stores and the garage area for staff, have also suffered from water penetration.

The Opposition claims that the staff are also complaining that they have very little space for linen in the wards, and that the cafeteria has only 40 seats earmarked for them, which is not enough when considering the total number of staff.

The cafeteria continues to be closed to the public, and additionally, other medical services like the CT Scan and Dialysis are still not operational, and the public have nowhere to park their cars when they visit the Hospital. Again, lack of forward planning on the part of the Government.

Only a few weeks after the opening of St Bernard’s Hospital at Europort, the enormous error of judgment taken by the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) Government in deciding to transform office blocks into a hospital, is already abundantly clear.

Commenting on the situation, Mari Montegriffo said:

If, as we proposed, the Government had built a new purpose-built hospital in another area of Gibraltar, it would not only have cost them much cheaper, but it would have had the possibility of further room for expansion in the future, and it would have been able to include many services which the Hospital at Europort lacks. Another benefit would have been that the Government would have ended up with two buildings, instead of one which is proving to be totally inadequate.


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