The A&E doctor Luc Beaucourt from Antwerp university hospital (UZA), spoke about the B-Fast mission in Nepal during Wednesday’s news broadcast on Flemish channel VTM, making serious accusations against the ministry of Health. After pleading for a global assessment of B-Fast interventions in international disasters, he stated that “a civil servant at the ministry of Health (…) is manipulating and bullying” anything and anyone linked with B-Fast. Other doctors, Ignace Demeyer from the Onze Lieve Vrouw hospital in Alost, and Kevin Vereecken from Stuivenberg in Antwerp, confirmed what he said. They were contacted by Belga news agency and added in particular that “B-Fast is a ‘question of prestige’ for this civil servant.” The 3 doctors are referring not only to the recent Nepal mission but equally to other disasters where B-Fast also intervened, such as Iran in 2003 and Haiti in 2010.
“I think we must dare to look at how B-Fast is organised,” insisted Luc Beaucourt, speaking to VTM. “I am in favour of the whole structure being run by the military. (…) The army is in fact the only entity with a decently equipped field hospital.”
“Luc has his own way of expressing things, but the substance of what he is saying is correct,” stepped in Ignace Demeyer, doctor in Alost. “The civil servant we are talking about is incompetent and was appointed solely through the intervention of politicians who support him.” Demeyer also believes that the ministry of Defence should head the B-Fast project. “They have A&E specialists who are well-trained and they have suitable tents. In other countries such as France, post-disaster relief is in the hands of the military.”