An increase in the number of midwives is needed to make the Maternity Ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] more efficient. This is according to Senior Departmental Supervisor, Sister Denise Marks.
Marks, in responding to the members of a Parliamentary Committee which conducted a visit at the hospital in May of this year, proposed that a total of 102 midwives would be sufficient to meet the needs of the Maternity Ward. This was in response to an enquiry from the Committee as to whether the staff complement was adequate.
The Department, according to Marks, has a staff of 51 midwives. The hospital also has about five ward managers, 22 staff nurses, 14 nursing assistants, 19 patient care assistants, two clinical instructors, one junior departmental supervisor and one senior departmental supervisor.
Marks also revealed that there are 23 beds in the pre-natal unit, nine beds with four monitors in the Labour Room, six beds and six monitors in the Delivery Room.
These are all required since, according to Sister Marks, the Department is one that caters for pregnant women from across Region Four, as well as other Regional Hospitals across the country.
But it is Marks’ desire that the GPHC’s Maternity Ward could be exclusively responsible for pregnant women within the Region Four area. This is in light of the fact that there are days when there are far too many patients seeking the services of the department.
Marks had earlier told this publication that even with additional beds in a new facility, the space issue that has faced the Maternity Unit of the hospital was not likely to become a thing of the past.
“Even if we have 100 more beds, it probably wouldn’t make a difference at certain times of the year,” she’d explained. This, she said, is due to the fact that there are periods during the course of the year that there are over 50 deliveries within three-days and these patients remain admitted for at least 24 hours before they are discharged.
This, of course, is compounded by the fact that the Georgetown Hospital is the country’s main referral hospital, thus catering to outlying and other areas, while at the same time serving as the Region Four regional hospital.
“We get more than our fair share of patients who we cannot turn away,” highlighted Sister Marks. This essentially means that space could at times be severely depleted and could deprive new admissions of much needed space, but yet is an unavoidable state of affairs.
This was also highlighted in the report which was last week submitted to Parliament by Dr. Vindhya Persaud-headed Parliamentary Committee.
According to the report, Marks made it clear that “there were days when the unit would have more patients than the amount of beds per patients, and thus patients were required to double up in order to accommodate each other.”
Marks had however previously told this publication that despite efforts to maintain some semblance of normalcy in the face of many shortcomings, the Department is still faced with many criticisms. Such criticisms, she said, has however served as a motivating factor. But she noted, “We need to work on lots of things so that we wouldn’t be criticised too much though.” She pointed to the need for improved professionalism among nurses. To achieve this goal, she noted that training programmes are in place.
Meanwhile, in the quest to address the several constraints of the department, Marks spoke of the need for the Maternity Ward to have its own electrocardiography [ECG] machine, ultrasound machine and about 15 monitors in total.
When asked by the Committee about the maternal deaths at the hospital during the visit in May of this year, Marks stated that there had been no recorded death.
As part of the efforts to reduce existing pressure on the Department, the Committee has recommended, among other things, that cases coming from the interior locations could be sent to nearby regional hospitals to be monitored until delivery and for post care, in order to avoid overcrowding.
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