Aug 13, 2008 News
The staff of the West Demerara Regional Hospital was yesterday forced into a protest mode since according to them the medical institution has been plagued with a major water crisis for almost a week.
According to them the problem surfaced at the beginning of this month and the administration reportedly failed to put measures in place to effectively address the situation. Some staff members noted that the resulting situation reached a peak yesterday.
They said that the services of the hospital had become compromised by the absence of potable water to facilitate medical procedures.
There was no water to perform deliveries, bathe newborn babies, perform dental procedures, and wash x-rays among other things which as a result caused medical staffers to refer patients to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
The situation had reached such an alarming proportion that one doctor was forced to send home all patients in the maternity ward.
According to the protesters, the lack of water resulted in toilets overflowing and the wards and other operating area being left in an unkempt state.
The problem was compounded yesterday when more than 60 irate patients seeking medical attention at the outpatients department of the hospital were forced to find alternative care after doctors failed to turn up for duty.
Some of the patients who were waiting to see a doctor from as early as 06:30 hours claimed that they were suffering from ailments ranging from fractured body parts to internal pains.
Reports are that the doctors did not have water to bathe and therefore could not prepare for work. It was related to this newspaper that no water was flowing to the doctors’ flat.
Additionally, the more than 40 occupants of the nurses’ hostel were confronted with an identical predicament.
However, this newspaper was informed that although yesterday’s situation was amplified by an alleged Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) problem, the water woes commenced soon after the administration was forced to discontinue allowing staffers to work overtime.
As a result, not only was the meagre nursing staffs depleted but the absence of auxiliary workers after hours caused a negative impact on the operation at the hospital. No one was there to even use buckets to help alleviate the situation.
It was reported that since the hospital consumes a great amount of water. The staffers said that they intend to protest until the situation at the institution is rectify to a level that is deserving of the ‘Best Hospital’.
The Hospital Administrator, Ms Bhoomatie Surujdin, in an invited comment yesterday admitted that the problem was in fact two-pronged.
She however, noted that since her recent appointment to the administrative office she has been aware that there is a problem with the water supply, a matter which has been repeatedly reported to the water authority.
Ms Surujdin disclosed that the matter had even reached the attention of Minister in the Ministry of Health, Dr Bheri Ramsarran. A report was also made to the Ministry’s head office, she said.
According to her there are certain periods of the day that the water company would cut the supply of water to other areas in order to build-up the pressure of water being directed to the hospital, a feature which has been severely hampered for some reason or the other.
But according to an official at GWI, the entity is doing everything possible to ensure that the hospital receives a proper supply of water since it is regarded as a priority facility.
It was however, deduced by officials visiting the site yesterday that there are some problems with the internal plumbing system of the facility which may be the cause of the problem to some extent, as was a leaking connection which was evident in the compound.
However, the GWI official said that measures will be put in place to ensure that the hospital water supply of water is back to full strength by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, the administrator of the hospital is of the belief that there is need for overtime for workers to be brought back on stream.
The disallowance of overtime at the hospital became effective on July 1 last, she noted.
Ms Surujdin said that the hospital is under-staffed as it is thus causing the operation to be placed in the hands of a skeleton staff most of the time.
She said that without the staffers working overtime the hospital will be operating at level six if placed on a scale of one to ten.
For this reason she said that a proposal has been formulated with a view of having the relevant authorities re-consider allowing staffers to work overtime when necessary in order to ensure that the hospital can keep operating at an acceptable level.
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