The South-West Regional Health Authority says it is cope with serious overcrowding in the Emergency Department of the San Fernando General Hospital, and giving priority to ensuring that every patient accessing the institution receives appropriate medical care.
The Authority said that over the last two days, there were 38 patients awaiting beds and as of 2p.m on Tuesday, 31 patients were awaiting beds.
“Despite efforts to place patients on every appropriate available bed within the facility through our bed management system, the hospital continues to exceed its capacity”.
As a result, patients are retained in the ward on temporary beds at the Emergency Department until ward bed space becomes available, the Authority disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon.
During this time, patients are attended to by doctors and nurses, the Authority stated.
“Every effort is being made by the medical officers to provide an appropriate level of care to patients until they are considered well enough to be discharged. Where possible, stabilised patients are transferred to our Area Hospital at Point Fortin. This is one of the routine measures that is employed to cope with the bed shortage”.
The SWRHA also advised that patients with known minor complaints to access the health centres and other facilities within the area so as to reduce the strains resulting from increased demands on the San Fernando General Hospital.
At present, the SWRHA has 33 Health Centres open on weekdays between the hours of 8a.m to 4pm.
At eleven of these health centres, there is Extended Hours Services on weekdays until 9p.m and Saturday until 4:00 pm and Sunday until 12 noon.
These extended hours facilities include The Extended Hours Facilities include Cedros, La Brea, Fyzabad, Penal, Ste Madeleine, Marabella, Pleasantville, Debe, India Walk, Freeport and Tabaquite. Persons can visit their nearest health centre to access basic emergency services, treatment for common diseases and minor injuries and for referral to other levels of care.
The SWRHA's District Health Facilities, located at Couva, Siparia and Princes Town, provide health care for clients with medical cases that require additional or specialised treatment. These facilities also offer auxiliary support such as radiology and pharmacy services. Services include primary care, specialist sessions and 24 hour emergency care available at the DHFs' Emergency Departments.
The SWRHA said it is exploring a number of other avenues with a view to providing relief in the short, medium and longer term, but will continue to strive for minimum disruption and patient hardships in the current situation.