The aged and the young should be given priority at any medical institution

Dear Editor,

This government took over a country in which critical social services were found to be seriously deficient in their daily operations. Sometimes I ponder whether this nation can fully comprehend the daunting task that this government has to restore many of these departments so they deliver a better service.

Many congratulations are due to Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence and all the technical staff who are at the moment executing the countrywide      anti-filaria campaign. This is a national initiative of an innovative type which is taking medicine to the people.

For all the billions that the past PPP/C administration crowed about spending for the nation’s health, aspects of efficient delivery of health care services are still a grave issue. Six doctors recently acquired a Master’s Degree in Emergency Medicine through a programme provided by the Vanderbilt University and the Medical Centre of the United States of America (USA). The doctors are currently stationed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s (GPHC) Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit, boosting the level of services being offered at the institution. Over 150 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) have been trained to assist in the process of saving lives with three ambulance Emergency Medical Services; the EMTs are responsible for stabilising patients and ensuring their safety until they arrive at the A&E unit. These are all worthy of commendation and indicate a clear intention by this administration to provide quality health care to its citizens.

However, there are still cases of persons, senior citizens, who complain about being made to wait very long hours at the Accident and Emergency Unit before receiving attention. It is my understanding that the diagnostic centres at Diamond and Leonora which have been staffed with specialists, were conceived of primarily to reduce the volume of persons converging on the central health services in Georgetown.  But that seems not to have worked well, since among the significant numbers of persons visiting the central system, many reside in the very regions where there are diagnostic centres.

There has been an outpatient department in operation for some time that was re-established to tend to cases that do not warrant the A&E’s attention. This is very good; however, if it were a 24-hour service, it would also cater for those late hour workers who may need to visit for  attention for a non-life threatening medical issue.

Why are persons not making the diagnostic centres their first port of call seeking medical attention?  Is it through a lack of confidence in the services offered?  I am of the opinion that those senior health posts can provide competent services to those who seek medical help.

To return to the A&E at the GPHC, I know there have been many senior citizens with obvious physical ailments, in addition to babies and young children, who visit the A&E and are made to wait for extreme lengths of time. In the end, many were admitted. My point here is that waiting too long with a particular chronic condition as many senior citizens have, can only result in a further deterioration in their already fragile health.

Therefore, the aged and the young ought to be given priority at any medical institution, most of all at the GPHC A&E. In this month of the elderly it is my fervent hope that the Minister Lawrence and Dr Karen Cummings, as well as Head of the A&E, Dr Zulifikar Bux, will give serious thought to this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Shauna Williams

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