Staff shortage affecting West Dem Hospital


…Public Service Ministry yet to confirm several positions

As a staff shortage continues to affect health-care delivery at the West Demerara Regional Hospital and other medical institutions in Region Three (Essequibo Islands- West Demerara), doctors and other medical staff have relayed their frustration over the delay in confirmation of several positions.
Guyana Times was told that a list of suitable persons to fill various vacant positions was sent to the Public Service Ministry several months, but hospital officials were still awaiting approval.
During last week’s top-level meeting at the West Demerara Regional Hospital, Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings was told of doctors being reluctant to work beyond their standard eight-hour shifts owing to the current payment package being offered for over time. More importantly, Deputy Regional Executive Officer (DREO) for Region Three, Jennifer Ferreira-Dougall indicated that doctors in the district and other medical staff have been waiting since before April to be confirmed to their positions before opting to work beyond the normal call of duty.
“Since I came into the Region, they are waiting on the Public Service Ministry to okay those positions, like in the lab. I don’t think the lab technician is confirmed,” Ferreira-Dougall disclosed.
This publication was told that a senior health official was told of these concerns when she visited the Region earlier this year and after that visit, a list of persons for confirmation were passed on to the Public Service Ministry.
Nevertheless, the situation remains unchanged. The DREO highlighted that the medical employees are seeking to be duly compensated for their time.
“A doctor is like a pilot, you can’t have them working over a certain hour and in terms of remuneration, if you’re going to ask the doctors and nurses to come back on, they are looking for an extra dollar,” she stressed.
This publication previously reported that pharmacy graduates from 2016 were among the medical personnel awaiting placement at health facilities throughout the Region.
Other departments with staff shortages include the x-ray department and theatre. On this note, Dr Cummings encouraged the officials to re-submit the lists of names to the Public Service Ministry, along with justification for the positions to be filled/confirmed.
Regional officials and the Minister engaged in an hour-long meeting which included Hospital Administrator Sanjah Persaud and Warehouse Manager at the Public Health Ministry’s Materials Management Unit (MMU), Sihouette Craig. The regional officers present included the DREO and Medical Superintendent and acting Regional Health Officer, Dr Bibi Jabar and Inter Ministerial Sector Coordinator, Mr Seewchan.
At the meeting, Dr Cummings had called on the Region Three officials to explain the Region’s problems associated with timely drug procurement at those facilities.
She heard that often times requests to the MMU are only made by health centres when the supply of drugs is finished. Many of these health facilities are in need of persons to fill the position of pharmacy assistant.