Axe must fall on Tufton's head
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The age-old problem of accepting responsibility for your actions has emerged again. This time, several medical workers and patients were exposed to cancer-causing agents, and no one seems ready to accept responsibility.
The fact is, such an error cannot go unpunished; the question is who is to be punished?
The minister of health is responsible for policy while the technocrats are responsible for management and operations. I think we can all agree that it should never be that one should go to a hospital, whether to work or to be treated, and end up more vulnerable to catching a disease than you were before you went there. So it is a fact that something went dismally wrong.
Who is to blame?
I understand that the technical team recommended that the hospital be closed. What we really need to answer here is, did they exhaust their power? Are they able to close the hospital without the permission of the minister? So, cancer-causing agents have infested the building and they have sounded the alarm. What next? Whose court is the ball in?
Could the technocrats have taken it further? Is there some higher management team that could have closed the hospital? Who had the ultimate power to close the hospital and did not do it? Whoever that person is ought to be fired.
Christopher Tufton, the minister of health, had that call to make. He had the ultimate responsibility to close the hospital, and for that reason his conscience should urge him to resign. If not, the prime minister should intervene and remove him.
Everyone else did as they should have. The senior public officials gave measured, professional advice. Mr Tufton never took the guidance and, therefore, he should be held accountable. If Minister Tufton is allowed to stay, it undermines the fundamental principle of accountability in governance.