By Delicia Bailey
Staff of the West Demerara Regional Hospital, Emergency Department, say they are fed up of the conditions under which they are forced to work and they are hoping that something could be done to improve their circumstances.
News Room understands that last Tuesday (May 16, 2017) staff wrote and submitted a letter outlining their concerns to the Medical Superintendent and one week later they are still awaiting some form of acknowledgement from the Hospital’s Admin Department.
Among the issues raised were physical and verbal abuse of staff, poor security, shortage of medication, the lack of basic laboratory, x-ray services and cleaners after 16:00 hours (04:00PM), the broken and often flooded toilet, poor ventilation and overall unsanitary state of the emergency department. News Room also understands that there are exposed wires within the department.
Just last month, it was reported that a patient, believed to be inebriated at the time, who went into this hospital attacked a doctor after he was told that the x-ray machine was out of order. Sections of the media also reported earlier this month of another attack on doctors at the same institution.
According to one doctor, who spoke to News Room under the promise of anonymity, the security force currently employed at the hospital is one of senior citizens. “These are the people that they put to guard us, especially in the evening shift and if something should happen, like if someone is being abused or some patient attacks the doctor or threatens (their) lives, nobody is there to defend us, nobody is there to call” the Doctor said.
After last month’s attack, Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence would have visited the Regional Hospital and the matter was discussed with the agreement that the situation would be looked into with the aim of finding a solution that improved security measures.
However, News Room was told that so far nothing has been done to improve the situation and as a consequence of this and other issues raised the staff is now ready to take the issue one step further.
At present there are 8 staff assigned to the emergency department at West Dem. Hospital and so far the three assigned to work the 08:00 hours to 16:00 hours (08:00AM-04:00PM) shift have reported sick. This trend is likely to continue throughout the day and onwards until the relevant authorities address the concerns raised by staff.
This means too that patients seeking emergency assistance at this facility are very unlikely to find it today.