There is a shortage of hospital beds at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) at Mt Hope, but plans are under way to bring relief to the system, says chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Shehenaz Mohammed.
She was responding to Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan’s statements on Tuesday about the nation’s hospitals being packed to capacity with patients because of unhealthy lifestyles people lead.
Khan also blamed doctors for the packed hospitals, saying they were inefficient in their investigative medical tests and were keeping patients longer than necessary in medical facilities.
Mohammed said she agreed with Khan’s statement, but said there was more to the problem.
“One of the major problems we are facing is resistance to change. We do have a minister who is creative in his approach and thinking outside the box, but people are unwilling to change the system,” she said.
She said the problem was not just the delay in getting investigative medical tests done but also in getting the reports in a timely manner.
Mohammed said over the past ten to 15 years diagnostic technology had increased but the capacity at the diagnostic centre, radiological facilities and laboratories had not been upgraded and this was coupled with the problem of insufficient human resources in administrative and IT fields.
The way ahead was to ensure that the healthcare system became e-friendly in that reports could be assessed by doctors and nurses right away from computers or iPads.
A measure to immediately address the bed-shortage problem is the establishment of a discharge ward.
She said this room would be equipped with recliners, television and air-conditioning and be made comfortable for patients to wait until their relatives could pick them up.
Mohammed said there was a problem when patients were discharged in the morning and their relatives did not collect them till the evening or, if they were discharged in the evening, they were not taken home till the next day and beds remain occupied.
The discharge ward, she said, would free up bed space and ensure there is fluidity in the system.
She added that the board was getting two wards ready for opening which will increase the bed capacity by 50 and the chief executive was mandated to look for other areas which could be transformed into ward space.
The medical chief of staff, she added, was asked to ensure that doctors did their morning and evening rounds and discharged patients who were well enough to go home.