By Romila Boodram
It was commissioned eight years ago with the sole purpose of rendering medical care to the residents on the East Bank Demerara (EBD). Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, has said that the facility is not fulfilling its role.
In fact, the Minister said that the health institution, which was built at a cost of $120M, is turning out to be a disaster.
During a recent interview, Dr. Norton revealed that while the hospital started out well there were many issues that had a negative impact on the facility. There were shortages of medication, broken equipment and shortage of medical personnel.
“The Diamond Hospital is turning out to be a disaster… that was not the intention. The intention was to create a hospital that can give a certain level of medical care that would affect, positively, the whole East Bank route,” Norton explained.
He added that at the beginning a lot of efforts were put into the hospital to make it a success.
“A lot of supervision and personnel were placed into the system but like anything else that only happens in the beginning and right now we have to do a lot of work.”
Kaieteur News was told that work will be done to raise the standard of health care services being offered at the hospital.
“We want to bring it back to where it started and to even take it further.”
To emphasize more on what went wrong at the hospital, the Minister said that the facility had a very large input of medical personnel from Cuba. There were patients who complained many times about the language barrier.
During an interview with a woman who sought medical assistance at the hospital, this newspaper was told that even though some of the doctors spoke English, it was still difficult for patients to understand because of the accent.
“Their accent is a huge problem. They would mix the English and Spanish together. Sometimes they speak to you in English and then they start talk in Spanish,” the woman stated.
Also, the Minister said that another major challenge was not having pharmacists to work at the hospital.
“You would hear that the pharmacy is not functioning on weekends while other areas are functioning. That makes me worried. It makes no sense having a clinic if patients cannot get medications; to even have an emergency department when you cannot secure materials (is worrying),” Dr. Norton related.
According to the Public Health Minister, more emphasis will be placed on the pharmacy and emergency department.
He said, too, that it is important to have all the equipment up and running.
Kaieteur News was told that not only the Diamond Hospital but the Leonora Cottage Hospital is also in a terrible state.
Dr. Norton said that works will be done on both hospitals soon.
In 2013, persons from the Social Sector Committee visited the hospital to observe the conditions and make recommendations to solve some of the problems.
During the visit, the management at that time was given three months to “clean up” the hospital.
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