Drug shortage forces doctors, nurses to sit-in at Skeldon Hospital

first_imgBy Andrew CarmichaelDoctors and nurses at Skeldon Hospital on Monday staged a sit-in and refused to see patients. Their drastic action came as a result of shortages of drugs and lack of basic equipment for them to carry out their duties.Since they had no tools to down, the staff at the Accident and Emergency Unit simply refused to see patients who turned up at the facility.Patients waiting to be attended at the A&E Department of the Skeldon HospitalWorking or not working did not make a difference, since the medical staff cannot provide a service, given the current conditions at the hospital, they said on Monday.A patient, Shamwar Appru, said he arrived at the medical institution at about 07:00h, and after more than one hour, he was told by a staff that there was no one to attend to him.“They tell me that the doctor is not working. I got a bad abscess on my mouth, paining real bad. They say the doctors on strike and they have no drugs to distribute to patients, so it is waste of time for them to see the doctor,” Appru said.The very upset Appru said he was initially told to revisit the hospital at 12:00h, but after an hour had elapsed, he was told to return another day.“They had more than 20 people waiting this morning when I come, and they (had) all the people wasting their time,” he added.Another person with whom the Guyana Times spoke was Mahindra Mohan. As the 20-year-old left the medical institution, he said he had no idea when he would be able to receive medical attention, and since his situation involves the Police, he cannot go to another hospital.Meanwhile, Natasha Qualie of Number 65 Village said she was told that service might return to normal next week.“Yesterday (Sunday) I come, and they say that I got to get (an) ID card. Now I come back with (an) ID card and can’t get look after,” she said.Raginjra Shivnarine, 49, of Number 75 Village, was seen limping into the hospital compound, but moments later was limping out. He said that, despite his condition, he was told to come back another time.He said he begged to have a nurse attend to him, but was told that it was not possible, since they did not have gloves and face masks.Executive member of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Ram Mangru told this publication that he visited the hospital after hearing about the sit-in.“When I come up here and I talk to the General Medical Officer and ask him if he is aware of the situation, he said, ‘Yes.’ I asked him if he made a report and requisition and he said, ‘Yes’, that he has been constantly making reports and requisitions for drugs because there is a shortage, but they have not been getting any attention,” the union representative said.Mangru said he then met with the doctors and nurses on the sit-in, who confirmed the shortage of drugs and other medical supplies at the Skeldon Hospital.The GPSU official said the workers are willing to continue their protest action, but the union cannot advise them on the way forward unless it first holds discussions with regional officials.He said he was told the Director of Regional Health Services was informed of the situation but had not responded.However, Regional Health Service Director Jevaughn Stephens told media operatives that he was not aware of what was happening.Meanwhile, in a press release issued on Monday, the Public Health Ministry has said a high-level meeting is planned for today following the sit-in.According to the release, the sit-in did not disrupt operations in other parts of the hospital, and according to the Focal Point Person for the Public Health Ministry in Region Six, Alex Foster, physicians were upset that critical supplies were unavailable to treat their patients and were thus forced to take industrial action.Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Public Health Ministry, Collette Adams, said other ministry officials are mystified by Monday’s industrial action taken by the Skeldon Hospital physicians. Adams said the hospital received supplies from the Materials Management Unit (MMU) last Thursday.The Public Health Ministry has said today’s talks involving all the stakeholders are expected to pave the way for a return to duty by the striking physicians.The ministry also said medical supplies are expected at the Skeldon Hospital today.last_img read more