The Leguan Cottage Hospital and Parika Health Centre are expected to have fully functional x-ray departments by the end of the year. These facilities are part of the Ministry of Public Health’s effort to improve the services
offered by Regional Health facilities.
Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton, recently visited the two facilities to observe progress of the works done. The Parika Health Centre’s facility is 95 percent complete. Much more work has to be done at the Leguan Cottage Hospital.
At Parika, the installation of lead glass, a hatch and air condition units are all that remain to be done. However, sourcing the glass is expected to take two months. The x-ray service will become available shortly after installation of additional parts once they are obtained, Regional Health Officer, Dr. Shawn Bancroft explained.
There are already trained technicians to man the facility once it is up and running.
Meanwhile, Dr. Norton took his officers to task for failing to ensure the functionality of the x-ray department at Leguan sooner. When the Minister visited the hospital over the weekend, the x-ray machine was still in the crate in which it was shipped.
Dr. Norton said it was unacceptable that the department remains non-functional five years after receiving an x-ray machine. “I can’t understand why such a machine [would be] allowed to just lay up in the corner,” he said.
He added, too, “I don’t think it was a shortage of cash, it wasn’t a shortage of labour or anything like that. It’s just that I think the will to get it done.”
The Public Health Minister charged the regional officials to have the x-ray department at the Leguan Cottage Hospital functioning as soon as possible.
However, regional officials who accompanied the Minister on the visit, were unable to say exactly when the machine will become functional since they are still to determine if it works and what other parts are needed.
The building itself has to undergo extensive modifications before it can serve as intended. The door needs to be lined with lead, the walls need to be fortified against radiation and a protective barrier needs to be created for the x-ray machine’s control panel among other things, Ms. Donna Bowman, Principal Radiographer at the Ministry of Public Health explained. Bowman added that the building was constructed without her input and this makes modifications costly and difficult.
The building was constructed under the previous administration to function as the x-ray department and a laboratory. The present administration has allocated $5 million to modify the building which is expected to be completed by the end of June.
Dr. Norton stressed that every effort will be made to have the facility functioning as intended. An x-ray department is expected to greatly aid the hospital in its functioning. The hospital has had to refer cases for x-ray to the West Demerara Hospital.
The Leonora Cottage hospital is also expected to eventually have an x-ray department set up there. (GINA)
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