Medical evacuations attract more than $19 million in 2012 – Dr Chan
More than $19 million was expended by the Ministry of Health’s Regional Health Services during the past year as part of its medical evacuation programme, said Director of Regional Health Services, Dr Irv Chan.
His comments came during the Health Ministry’s end-of-year press conference yesterday. The forum was hosted at the Ministry’s Brickdam, Georgetown boardroom.
According to Dr Chan, there were 111 medical evacuation flights organised by the Ministry which allowed for the safe transfer of some 145 patients from far flung regions to Georgetown to access medical attention.
“The goal of the Ministry of Health is to make sure flights are done safely and patient condition is foremost when conducting this process,” said Dr Chan as he insisted that the Regional Health Services Department is poised to improve the delivery of this service in the New Year.
Dr Chan said that on a normal basis a huge chunk of the Health Ministry’s budget is plugged into the department of Regional Health Services which is also tasked with facilitating a number of medical outreaches to far flung areas.
And according to him, for 2012 the department reported significant activities whereby the Department paved the way for several such outreaches to areas including Regions One, Seven and Nine.
Medical services ranging from surgical, orthopaedic, obstetric and gynaecological, eye and general clinics as well as ultra sound and VIA services are offered by specialists several of whom operate on a voluntary basis.
More than 20 private practitioners contributed their skills to this effort last year, Dr Chan revealed yesterday. “These doctors were crucial to the actual sustenance of the outreach programme making our outreach programme a success for 2012 and we do plan to continue this in 2013 and to deliver even more surgical outreaches,” said Dr Chan.
During the past year a total of nine surgical outreaches were undertaken by specialist doctors with the support of other medical personnel in the target Regions. In Region One, two surgical outreaches were done allowing for a total of 42 surgeries to be successfully completed. However, there were 83 individuals who gained medical attention through these outreaches, Dr Chan said.
The Bartica Hospital, in Region Seven, was the venue for four surgical outreaches which saw the attendance of 85 patients and 54 surgeries. In the case of Region Nine, the Lethem hospital hosted three major outreaches that allowed for 886 persons to be attended to and the facilitation of 142 surgeries.
According to Dr Chan “the total number of surgeries done for 2012 was 238 which is a little off of our target…We would have estimated to have done 300 surgeries but we were off because of the late start of the events after the budget which was passed in April (2012).”
However, Dr Chan noted that the Regional Health Services Department was yet able to achieve more than 75 per cent of its target to deliver surgical interventions and clinics to those in the far flung areas.
In essence, he said that a total of 1,054 individuals were attended to, a move which represented health care services outside of the regular health services offered by the respective target regions.