Diamond Hospital staff stage sit-in, Minister promises improvement

Following a protest yesterday, the Ministry of Public Health says it will be working to improve the environment and security of staffers at the Diamond Diagnostic Centre.

Stabroek News understands that staffers of the East Bank Demerara hospital were yesterday engaged by the junior Minister of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, Regional and District Health Officials, several hours after they staged a sit-in as part of attempts to have their concerns addressed by the Ministry.

It was explained that the decision to stage a sit-in stemmed from several issues ranging from lack of proper sewerage systems, insufficient security and electrical issues.

Karen Cummings

The sit-in also comes in the wake of an incident last week where a medical staffer was attacked by relatives of an individual who doctors at the institution pronounced dead after being taken to the institution for emergency treatment.

It was this that reportedly prompted the medical staff to pen a letter to both the Ministry of Public Health as well as the Regional and District Health Officials, pleading with them to look into their concerns.

When Stabroek News visited the hospital yesterday midday, security guards stationed at the entrance of the hospital’s compound explained that they had received a directive from “management” not to let anyone inside the building.

It was observed however, that though the doctors were conducting their sit-in, a number of persons were sitting outside in the waiting area. Based on inquiries made, this newspaper was told that the persons waiting outside were relatives of those who visited the hospital seeking emergency treatment.

Reports reaching this newspaper indicate that the sit-in began at 8 am yesterday and ran until the Junior Minister and her team visited the hospital to engage staffers.

Meanwhile, a statement by the Department of Public Information (DPI) said that the issues faced by the staff are likely to be addressed in the shortest possible time as yesterday’s engagement with the staffers of the hospital yielded resolutions which the Ministry will be working to  implement.

One of the resolutions as agreed upon by the parties involved would see the regional administration liaising with the commander of the ‘A’ Division of the Guyana Police Force to provide an on-duty officer at nights so as to ensure that a greater level of security will be in place for the staff working the night shift.

With regards to the non-functional sewerage system, the statement said the region will contract a waste management firm to conduct an analysis on the facility’s system and seek to rectify all faults.

Additionally, the junior Minister explained that electrical issues persisted because the initial installation of electrical wiring was poorly done, which has resulted in a poor electrical supply to various sections of the facility.

Thus, the entire building will be expected to undergo rewiring to provide a more efficient electricity supply.

The minister added that with these resolutions, a follow up is to be conducted by October 6, by which time all the issues are expected to have been rectified.

Cummings further ex-plained that although maintenance of the health facility falls under the Region Four RDC’s budget, her ministry will most likely play a significant role in ensuring these issues are addressed.



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