All surgical theatres at NA Hospital functional unlike opposition MP claims – Min. Lawrence

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, December 10, 2017

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence conducted a tour of the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital on Saturday, December 9, with the aim of ascertaining the working conditions of the staff and environment under which persons are offered medical care.

Additionally, the Minister’s visit sought to dismiss allegations made by Opposition Members of Parliament (MP’s) concerning the functioning of key areas of the hospital. “During the course of the debate in the National Assembly, Opposition MP Dr. Mahadeo made several allegations against the management of health services in Region Six.” Minister Lawrence pointed out.

Minister Lawrence and CEO of the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital, having discussions in the room where the CT scan will be installed.

The debates for the National 2018 budget were held from Monday, December 4 to Friday, December 8, 2017.

Minister Lawrence said that during these debates the Region Six MP, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo and former minister Dr. Frank Anthony alleged that all three of the surgical theatres at New Amsterdam were not functioning, resulting in numerous transfers to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

However, the minister described, the afore mentioned as misinterpreted or false information. “We spoke to the persons working in the theatres, and we heard that all three theatres are working. Two of the theatres are for general surgeries. One is specific to looking at ophthalmology so that is not used for everything. From time to time they will use it, but once that is done, they will shut it down because then they will have to do 100 percent sterilization to get it back up and running.”

Senior Anesthetic nurse of the New Amsterdam Hospital, Lennox Sampson testified to this when asked about the functioning of these theatres. “We have no theatre that is not functioning currently…” Sampson detailed.

While these theatres remain functional, the New Amsterdam Hospital staff did inform the minister that from time to time, surgical cases are interrupted due to ‘load shedding or blackout’ and power fluctuations.

Immediately, Minister Lawrence consulted with the Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, Colin Bynoe and Director of Health Services, Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens to resolve this issue.

Minister Lawrence and a team from the ministry of Public Health along with Dr. William Adu-Krow of PAHO/WHO in Guyana during an exchange with anesthetic nurses of the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital.

“We spoke about having GPL come on board to assist with having some single lines sent in, so we can have some stand-alone services to our laboratory (and theatres). So that our machines are not affected from time to time by either fluctuation in the voltage or because of the heavy load of machinery now, at the new Amsterdam hospital.”

The Opposition MPs had also raised questions about the Computed Tomography (CT) Scan which was donated by RAD-AID in 2016 and is yet to be installed at the regional hospital.

During the Minister’s visit, she learnt that there are minor challenges delaying the installation of the machine. “The place where the CT scan is going to be housed, which is right next door to the theatres, that spot is presently being used by the lab technician, it houses the laboratory and the building to house the laboratory was incomplete (so) as soon as that is completed the CT scan will be (installed).” Minister Lawrence explained.

The opposition has continued to criticise the government for not addressing severe drug shortages throughout the country. According to the Public Health Minister, drug shortages will be less of an issue since the availability, timely delivering and management of drugs will be encouraged in 2018.

The Ministry of Public Health has already embarked on a new method of procuring drugs and medical supplies and tenders for the procurement of drugs in 2018 have already been opened.

As it relates specifically, to Region Six, “there are a few drug shortages in the region, not anything significant and I believe it is more of an administrative problem than that of drugs not being available”, Minister Lawrence disclosed.


By: Delicia Haynes


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