GPHC Phlebotomy lab not understaffed

Dear Editor,
In response to the letter written to the editor of Stabroek News (‘Staff problems?’ September 1), the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) wishes to make the following statements.

From all indications the author seems to be referring to the Phlebotomy Lab (small lab). Foremost, this department is not understaffed as suggested by the author. The department has three shifts: 06:00h-14:00h, 07:00-15:00h and 08:00h-16:00h; and its full complement of staff to carry out its function, which is to take blood samples from patients for both in-patient and out-patient services.

This fact also speaks to the claim that “the door is opened most days at or after 8:30h.” Management assures that if the author is genuine in his/her claim then this must have been an isolated case wherein a problem would have occurred resulting in the delay of the opening of the department. However, in an unusual event such as this, patients are referred to the Medical Lab (main lab) to have their samples taken.

It must be stated also, that the only instance whereby a patient is asked to return at a later date for a sample to be taken is in the event that he or she would have over-fasted, for this will result in an inaccurate result being produced, hence the waste of resources – a strict 12h fasting regimen must be observed.

Additionally, when samples are taken, these results are sent to the respective clinics the said afternoon, and the results are placed in the patients’ charts to be reviewed by the doctor. Clinic patients therefore are not required to return to the Phlebotomy lab for results.

Patients from (external) health centres must however return to the lab for their results, and these are issued Monday to Friday, from 14:00h to 16:00h, not during the morning hours, which is strictly for blood sample collection.

We wish to highlight the fact that some patients are required to have their tests run before their next clinic date; however, they choose to do so on the very day of their next scheduled appointment and this creates some difficulty for the staff, who are obligated to perform their duties. With respect to the limited space in the area, this fact cannot be denied; however, it will soon be alleviated when the temporary Female Medical Ward is transferred to the new inpatient facility and more space is created in the clinic area after it would have been properly fumigated and made hospitable.

Yours faithfully,
A Proctor
Public Relations Office
Georgetown Public Hospital