Health Minister Terrance Deyalingh has told the Parliament that some parents have been guilty of deliberately giving their children laxatives to induce diarrhea, to have them admitted to hospital over the Carnival periods, allowing the parents to be free for the Carnival weekend.
He made the disclosure while answering questions in the House of Representatives on Friday.
"For Carnival, they start to dump their children into the public health care system from Carnival Friday," the minister said.
"Some parents deliberately give their children Broclax to induce diarrhea so they go to the A&E (Accident and Emergency) complaining of diarrhea and you have to keep them," he added.
"They don't come Carnival Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and miraculously they appear to collect their children Ash Wednesday. That is what this free public health system does and the taxpayer picks up the bill for that," he said.
Asked if the parents are reported to the police for this, the minister said that there is no law against giving laxatives to children.
He said in some cases, children leave their elderly parents at hospitals and travel to North America, mostly at Christmas time.
"Christmas and Carnival are when children take their parents to be housed at the public expense in public hospitals because they want to go up north for Christmas,
The minister said that the ministry has calculated across the health care system, 51 long-stay patients, which he said is "the size of small private hospital".
He said 18 were at the San Fernando General Hospital
"We leave them there because we can't throw them into the streets," he said.
"That is what this free public health care system has been doing from time immemorial and because it is free, it is abused," Minister Deyalsingh told the House.
- by Sampson Nanton