…looks at extending opening hours of health centers countrywide
Overcrowding at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has, for many years, been a sore point. A significant contributing factor is the abandonment of patients at the institution, particularly the elderly and those
who are mentally ill.
In the past, supplies and beds that can be used to treat and accommodate genuinely ill people, had to have been plugged into the efforts to care for those abandoned individuals. The GPHC has often adopted a policy of not forsaking those who are abandoned by their families. However, this benevolent initiative is taking a toll on the resources of the hospital.
“They are taking up bed spaces where actual patients should be,” Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence stressed.
Even during her tenure as Social Protection Minister, Lawrence recognized this as a serious problem. Now that President David Granger has assigned her responsibility for the public health sector, strategies are being crafted to solve that problem.
Efforts are afoot to create a programme which will allow for abandoned patients- the elderly and the mentally ill– to be transferred to more suitable institutions such as the National Psychiatric Hospital in Berbice and homes for the elderly. Attention would also be placed on ensuring that these abandoned people are in good health and are able to transition well.
Minister Lawrence explained that while she has a deep interest in ensuring that those abandoned at the hospital are adequately and suitably cared for, she is very cognizant of the fact that the Georgetown Hospital is managed by a Board of Directors.
“An institution of that sort, which was made to have a second tier of management, that is the board, can’t have one Minister, or two Ministers stay from another place and manage or give the oversight that it requires,” Lawrence said.
The Minister said that she will be doing everything in her power to ensure that the burden currently being placed on the GPHC is eased as soon as possible.
“I want that they are only referred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation when they need specialized care. I want to ensure that Guyanese, or anyone who is in Guyana can feel confident that they can walk into a primary care or a specialized care institution and get the services that they need. We want to deal with the backlog and so on,” Lawrence highlighted.
In yet another effort to ensure that this strain on the GPHC is eased, the Minister is looking closely at extending the opening hours of health centers across the country.
“We want to look at those secondary hospitals around to ensure that we can bring them up to the standards that they ought to be operating at, and that they have the personnel, so people can become more confident in their regional hospital, and go to those hospitals,” the Minister said.
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