THE chronic bed shortage at the San Fernando General Hospital suddenly began after the first week of the new year. Why it has happened is uncertain, according to chief executive officer of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), Anil Gosine.
Gosine said between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, there were up to 125 vacant beds at the hospital. However, last week the hospital became so overcrowded that some patients waited for hours to get a bed.
Gosine said three times a day, reports would be given from the hospital’s bed bureau concerning the number of beds available for patients. As long as a bed is available for use, a patient would be given that bed regardless of where it was located at the facility, and given the proper treatment and care.
Gosine said the hospital was no longer just regarded as a medical institution but also a social one, taking care of the elderly and sick.
And the hospital’s medical director Dr Anand Chatoorgoon, has given a strict warning to medical consultants to perform their jobs properly or leave the hospital.
He held a meeting yesterday with heads of all 16 clinical departments to address the overcrowding issue.
Chatoorgoon said: “I told them nicely, we would love to have them on board but if the doctors no longer care about the patients and they cannot treat them with love and compassion, it would be better for them to seek employment elsewhere.”
Chatoorgoon said the meeting was fruitful and everyone agreed to work with each other.
The medical director said this year, everyone should try to raise the standard of professional care for the organisation especially with the recent addition of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
He said plans were in place to ease the overcrowding situation by having doctors make two rounds on the wards instead of just one during the day.
Chatoorgoon said: “I made a plea to the doctors for the senior doctors to do ward rounds in the evening and to assess patients that are coming in during the day. With the experienced, expert eye of the consultant, they could decide who could stay and who could go to the clinics therefore prioritising the use of beds.”
He said: “They will also be there to guide the junior doctors with better supervision and naturally the patients would get a better standard of care. The senior doctors are there to teach, guide and support.”
It was the first meeting for the year among the medical professionals.
Prior to the meeting, Chatoorgoon had written to a member of staff informing the person that his behaviour was not acceptable since he was not available for duty when called.
Gosine said there was nothing wrong with Chatoorgoon writing his staff about their professional conduct.
He said: “Dr Chatoorgoon has a role to play and he is right to send letters and e-mails to his consultants. He would send out e-mails reminding consultants of their roles and responsibilities which is normal in any organisation. He would send out those anytime he wishes to do so.”
Gosine said it is necessary that Chatoorgoon stay in contact with all staff members for the development of the facility.