-shortage of drugs, doctors, nurses highlighted during visit
By Kizzy Coleman
Following the cries of employees at the Diamond Diagnostic Centre (DDC) of inhumane conditions, Public Health Minister on Friday visited the East Bank Demerara establishment and lashed out at management there.
In a meeting in the director’s office Dr Kay Shako, Minister Norton accompanied by Minister Dr Karen Cummings, grilled and lambasted the hospital administrators for the current crises facing the institution.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Norton said the Diagnostic Centre was built with a purpose, a purpose which it is currently not achieving because administrators are not operating in the capacity as they should.
He said it is the duty of the administrators to bring to the attention of the Public Health Ministry problems they are faced with. This he noted is not being done.
According to Norton, the DDC has seen better days and is losing its previous status.
Assessing the situation, Dr Norton stated: “We cannot afford to have Diamond Diagnostic Centre crumble, this is not going to happen, and we are going to implement the necessary changes to bring it back to where it was and even better.”
He reminded the administrators that each year, the hospital have a history of sending back $6 million to the Consolidated Funds, which should not repeat itself this year.
“What is happening, we have to work together, we need this thing to work,” Norton petitioned the administrators.
He further reminded that the Diagnostic Centre was built to relieve the situation at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) but is presently forwarding patients to GPH instead.
Questioning the administrators, Dr Norton was updated about the plights the hospital is presently facing.
With a visible list of the problems affecting the facility, Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Micheal Pereira relayed that chief among the issues plaguing the institution is the shortage of doctors, nurses, drugs, and medical equipment.
Because of these shortages, surgeries at the institution cannot be conducted and persons are being rescheduled constantly or referred to the GPH.
Dr Pereira informed that there are no certified pharmacists at the hospital nor are there sufficient ambulance drivers.
The minister was also told that employees are not being paid on time; there is no Police Outpost at the facility; and no security service is available. There is also the need for social workers.
The administrators also decried the poor facilities they are forced to work with on a daily basis.
According to the administrators, there are broken doors in the hospital, non-functional air-conditioning units, leaking roof, insufficient equipment and medication in the ambulances, black mould forming on the roofs, and the lack of water.
Presently the fire service has been supplying the hospital with water as Guyana Water Incorporation (GWI) is facing difficulties supplying water not only to the hospital but to the entire area.
According to the administrators, the issues currently facing the hospital have been ongoing for a number of months.
After listening to the situation, Dr Norton explained that it is not his desire to point a finger at administrators but to get them functioning in an effective manner.
“Anything that happens at Timehri its diamond they will be coming, at the stadium, it’s Diamond that they will be coming so we cannot afford to leave this hospital in such a terrible condition”.
The Public Health Minister proposed a qualified individual to be put in place at the hospital to take the lead over the administrators.
“We need to get the administration under better control to have things working better.”
According to the administrators, the tendering process for approval of funds for the equipment and ordered drugs from the region is proving to be a huge issue, as such the minister said that consultations must be carried out to have this changed.
Consultations will also have to be held with the Materials Management Unit who is currently not supplying sufficient medical equipment, drugs to the hospital and delaying the process on many occasions.
Norton also assured that better qualified persons will be employed at the facility.
“We need to identify the problem, think about the solution, and work towards the solution. If we are doing things one way and we are not getting results then we got to change it but we want to do it together”.
Visibly frustrated, both Norton and Cummings noted that they must find a way forward to fix the situation urgently.