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Social Services carry out fact finding mission at New Amsterdam Hospital….

Hits: 1130 / Published Date: 15 Mar, 2017

Members of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services on Thursday, March 2, visited the New Amsterdam Hospital where they met and interacted with hospital officials, staff and patients in an attempt to examine the hospital’s operational procedures in relation to emergency health care.

Members of the Committee who were a part of this “fact finding mission” included: Chairperson Hon. Dr.VindhyaVasini Persaud, MP., Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, MP., Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples' Affairs, Hon Dr Karen Cummings, MP.,  Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Hon. Alister S. Charlie, MP., and Hon. Vishwa D.B Mahadeo, MP.

The Members were met by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hospital, Mr. Collin Bynoe, the Director of Health Service, Region No.6 Mr. Jevon Stephens, and other Heads of Departments in the hospital. Mr. Bynoe briefed the Committee on the services provided at the hospital and the challenges faced. He placed special emphasis on the fact that the hospital caters for a population of more than one hundred and twenty five thousand (127,000) persons but only has seventy doctors (70) in its employ. He raised several other concerns including poor maintenance of equipment which, he said, is mainly responsible for slowing down the work of the staff and pointed out that they constantly have problems with their air conditioning units. Another issue was the small size, lack of privacy and deplorable condition of the doctors’“on call room”. He explained that a new “on-call” room is presently being constructed but lamented that this will take a few months before completion and doctors are in the mean time forced to make do with inadequate facilities.

Mr. Bynoe also pointed out positive developments at the hospital which included the construction of the High Dependency Unit at the front of the hospital. He explained that the hospital will be expanded with the construction of a new maternity wing complete with its own theatre, delivery room and cubicles to accommodate fathers so that they can have a view of their wives delivery.

The Director of Health Services, Region 6, took the opportunity to let the Committee know that because of low cost, a number of Surinamese travel to Guyana to access health care. He further added that while budget would be based on their population, when Surinamese are taken into consideration it puts a strain on the system. He was unable to quantify the numbers of Surinamese, however.

Dr. Persaud, the Chairperson of the Committee explained that the Social Services Committee has the responsibility to scrutinize and examine policies and administration for each sector under its purview and to determine whether they are in consonance with the principles of good governance. As such, Dr. Persaud said, the Committee will make a report concerning their findings and table it in the National Assembly, with recommendations which can and should be acted on. The Chairperson further explained that though hiccups are expected in any organization she is primarily concerned about the complaints of medication shortage and inability to have tests done which were made by patients she met on arrival at the Hospital.

The Parliamentary Sectoral Committee also has the mandate to examine whether institutions are equipped to meet their responsibilities and make recommendations for improvements it can make.

The Committee was made aware of the severe shortages of many medications on their visit to the pharmacy. The Materials Management Unit (MMU) had shortages of many needed medications and this hampered the hospital pharmacy from providing patients with basic drugs. The Director of Health Services related the procedure involved him calling the MMU to ascertain if medications based on the list supplied by the Pharmacist were available. The doctors in the operating theater also were unable to perform surgeries over the last three months leading to a backlog of cases. In addition, the biochemistry machine was not working since last year preventing necessary tests from being carried out for that hospital and those in the region. The staff was innovative and enthusiastic and employed their own initiatives many times to cater for the health of their patients.  Also raised were staff shortages in the labs and attendant department. More details will be released in the formal report which will be laid in Parliament.

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