Response to Stabroek News article- ‘A&E patients frustrated by new system, long wait at NA Hospital’

The Ministry of Public Health is concerned by the article “A&E patients frustrated by new system, long wait at NA Hospital” erroneously representing the situation at the New Amsterdam Hospital with regards to the functioning of the Accident & Emergency Unit of that hospital. This article was published in the Stabroek News on Thursday, January 24, 2019.

The Ministry has been fully involved in the process of solving the difficulties of this main public health facility in Region 6.

The Ministry on assignment of the new acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Samantha Kennedy to the facility, mandated that officer ensure that the New Amsterdam Hospital was functioning effectively and that all legal and administrative requirements of the institution were met.

The Ministry continues to work with the Regional Health Department, Region 6 and the Regional Democratic Council to ensure that all standards of practice are optimum.  In emphasizing these standards, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Dr Shamdeo Persaud in correspondence to the Medical Superintendents of not only New Amsterdam Hospital but also other main Regional Hospitals nationwide noted the need for adequate maintenance of medical records of all patients seen at public health facilities and the need for a triage system to ensure medical conditions are appropriately addressed in a timely manner, adequate records of all patients seen at the medical facility and the need for systems to be put in place for 24-hours service to be offered to the general public by the medical staff.  Whenever enough medical officers are not available to cover 24hr/day services, the administration should put in place a system for on-call and overtime by the medical officers to provide the service.

Additionally, the Ministry earlier this week dispatched the CMO and the Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Kay Shako to the New Amsterdam Hospital to examine the conditions and discuss the issues affecting the institution. The Ministry of Public Health team was tasked to develop and implement a plan of action to ensure that the critical services of New Amsterdam Hospital are delivered uninterrupted.

The plan developed by the team and the local medical personnel included the intervention of an approved system to

  • triage patients based on urgency of the medical condition
  • maintain Accident & Emergency services for critical casualty cases based on the triage
  • a plan to incorporate a special out-patients clinic to attend to non-emergency cases.
  • Documentation of all the medical services offered at the facility

The team discussed with the administration a strategy to include doctors assigned to the region at health centres, to assist with providing extended services at the out-patients and Accident & Emergency units.

The CMO does recognize the good work done by the medical team at New Amsterdam Hospital but also appreciates the challenges that the hospital faces in dealing with the high volume of persons seeking medical service.

The Ministry of Public Health would like to appeal to the media to ensure that good practice in reporting on medical matters are observed and that appropriate consultations be held on issues regarding health with the relevant officials before publication.

The Chief Medical Officer and the Ministry of Public Health’s team thank the medical professionals and the public for their patience and understanding as the Ministry strives to improve health care throughout Guyana.

Dr. Shamdeo Persaud

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

2019-01-24

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