WDRH Emergency Room physicians back at work

Emergency Room doctors are back at work in full strength following their public discontent over their security fears, conditions of work, especially the physical state of the department at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.

The problems at the WDRH were essentially “managerial issues but the doctors are back at work in full strength” a senior MOPH official confirmed Wednesday.

Emergency Room doctors “took sick leave” the last two days leaving the health institution short of critical staff.

A senior health official was adamant that the doctors’ decision was “not an industrial action or strike”.

The MOPH and concerned officials of the WDRH met Wednesday and were able to find common ground and iron out most of the difficulties with both sides agreeing to a raft of measures, some of which will be implemented in the short term.

These include armed ranks of the Guyana Police Force to be a permanent feature at the hospital to beef up security for doctors who have been perennially abused – verbally and physically – by Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) residents especially when they are under the influence of alcohol or believe they have waited long enough to see a physician.

The WDRH and the MOPH are awaiting the approval from the Commissioner of Police. Region Three officials are prepared to fund this initiative a health authority figure with knowledge of the recent discussions said too Wednesday.

The official said that locks will be installed on several doors of the Hospital to enable doctors and nurses to better secure themselves in the face of impending assaults by irate patients or their families.

Also among the plan of action agreed to between the parties is to hike the number of attendants working at the hospital. This has been a concern for the hospital for some time now. It is expected that the PSC will work swiftly to approve the increase of staff.

There is also expected to be a rise in the number of cleaners operating at the regional health institution.

A better remuneration package for the doctors was also discussed according to a source familiar with Wednesday’s talks.

Employees at the WDRH have been facing abuse by residents of the mainly agricultural community for years workers there have said repeatedly.

Physicians and nurses have said in previous interviews. Recently a female doctor said she was pinned against a wall by an irate and inebriated patient and was defenceless and helpless. Workers have been appealing for a “safe space” at the hospital to secure themselves from the almost weekly attacks. Most of these attacks were unreported.

In the face of escalating aggression against hospital workers, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence met ranks of the Region Three Police and senior Region Three leaders to work out a plan to better protect workers and boost their morale.

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