Major upgrades for New Amsterdam hospital; vacant posts to be filled
The New Amsterdam Hospital is set to undergo major upgrades in the near future. This was revealed by the Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bob Ramnauth during an engagement with the press last week.
Ramnauth, who is also a general surgeon, took over the institution eleven months ago from Michael Khan and since then he has identified a number of things within the institution that will be changed or enhanced, all in an effort to provide quality health care to patients.
The CEO disclosed that a “comprehensive assessment” was done of the hospital’s infrastructure, equipment and personnel (medical, non-medical and para-medical).
Following that assessment, many of the issues discovered were addressed. He said that a shortage of nurses and doctors was identified within the system and as such programmes were put in place for persons to be trained to fill the vacant posts. One intervention that has been working, Ramnauth said, is persons being brought from the Georgetown Public Hospital to do their internship at the New Amsterdam Hospital.
“That’s something that was never done before,” he said.
Every six months, 20-30 doctors or nurses complete their internship with almost more than half requesting to remain at the NA hospital.
“These doctors come from all kinds of medical schools and the University of Guyana, even schools in the region and further afield.”
In addition to that, the Government of Guyana’s part-time jobs initiative has also been complementing the health sector in Region Six, particularly the regional hospital as they are able to fill gaps and ensure adequate staffing. These persons fit in as drivers, clerical staff, porters and more.
With the hospital being the second largest in the country, boasting of staffing of over 651, there is an average of 300 patients per day utilising its services.
“So, you can imagine, the number of people that are shuffling through this institution in a 24-hour period because it’s a 24 hours hospital with a three-shift system.”
Ramnauth stated that with that amount of traffic daily and the hospital being 18 years old “it takes a toll on the infrastructure” and while the hospital was intended to run effectively for 15 years when the Japanese built it, it was scheduled for a major overhaul.
Dr Ramnauth said that based on assessments done on the power system, water system, oxygen system, vacuum system and fire system etc, resources are being acquired and shortcomings are being addressed.
Works have been ongoing on the electrical system for the past few weeks and shortly, works will begin on the oxygen system where oxygen lines will be run to every bed in every ward. The maternity block, which was built over five years ago, will soon be put into operation as well.
The accident and emergency department will see an expansion from its current six – seven bed capacity to a 20-plus bed capacity. The radiology unit will be completely overhauled and the Intensive Care Unit will move from three beds to more than seven beds.
According to the CEO, the hospital was never constructed with an HDU and as such, the intention is to have a 15-20 bed HDU.
“…then we will move the delivery suite, the maternity wards and the NICU, giving us the real estate to do the expansion,” he added.
Additionally, there are currently three operating theatres, but the CEO said that there is a need for three more since there is an increase in the number of people that require elective surgeries.
Currently, rehabilitations are ongoing to facilitate the delivery of chemotherapy since, according to Dr. Ramnauth, over 50 patients in Berbice require the service.
The hospital has already been enhanced with 11 dialysis machines through the collaborative efforts of the Dubai Renal Centre and the intention is to have it increased to 15.
There is already an Oncologist on site and nurses are being trained.
“We are just waiting on the completion of the infrastructure and then that programme will start in a few months.”
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the entire x-ray system will be changed from the old analogue system to digital and engineers are currently re-designing the present structure to suit specifications sent to the management from the suppliers.
Dr Ramnauth pointed out that “the speed at which the x-ray will be done will be increased, so that there will be more x-rays in less time and quality and accessibility will be improved. We will no longer have people walking around with a film, having to go wash it in a dark room and people walking around with an envelope with films.”
In addition to that, he said the present system of communicating from ward to ward and from hospital to hospital is also an old analogue system. He revealed that contracts have already been awarded for the mobilisation and upgrade of the entire telecommunications system in the hospital (telephone and internet services).
“So, when our patients come, they are lying in bed with a broken leg for a week or two, they can have internet access. We will offer that to make our patients more comfortable,” he said.
As it relates to power generation within the hospital, assessments that were done, revealed that in order for the massive equipment to work effectively, power has to be readily available and stable. As such, the system will be backed up by a duplicated generator system.
The CEO noted that all the improvements taking place and will take place were all supported by the RDC 6 and the Ministry of Health.
“We have moved a far way in healthcare. There weren’t adequate delivery beds, adequate operating tables, all those things we have been supplied with, brand new equipment.” Ramnauth
Meanwhile, Regional Health Officer for Region Six, Dr Vishalya Sharma, has indicated that laparoscopic surgeries are now being done and two ultrasound machines were added to the New Amsterdam Hospital. The first arthroscopic surgery was done last week.posited. The CT scan machine is currently up and working along with dialysis treatment.