Region Six’s Health Direc-tor, Jevaughn Stephens says that the ‘sit-in’ by physicians on Monday at the Skeldon Hospital was mainly as a result of a lack of communication and the closure of the Skeldon Estate Dispensary which has led to an increase in the number of patients at the said hospital.
On Monday the physicians attached to the Accident and Emergency (A & E) Department of the Skeldon Hospital held a day-long ‘sit-in’ due to the shortage of medical supplies and drugs.
The Health Director at a press conference held yesterday at the Regional Health Services Board-room confirmed that there is a shortage of drugs and supplies at the Skeldon Hospital. However, he said that had the situation been properly communicated to those in charge, it could have been instantly rectified.
“The ‘sit-in’ was because of a shortage of critical drugs and medical supplies,” Stephens confirmed, while adding, “we met with the staff this morning, and we had about three hours of discussion, [and] coming out of that discussion, we have paved the way forward, and one of our major barriers, is the lack thereof of communication”.
Stephens noted that the staff at the hospital and the local health authorities are aware that “we need to improve our communication internally”. He stressed that the communication between local pharmacists at the various hospitals within the region also needs to improve. “In the event Skeldon [Hospital] has a shortage, Port Mourant [Hospital] could assist, and vice versa,” he explained.
Stephens stated that he believes once communication is improved among the staff and authorities there will be a “reduction of drug shortages in the region”. He added that it was discovered during the meeting that the health sector’s planning and distribution of supplies and drugs has to undergo some work due to the closure of the dispensaries at two estates.
“By virtue of those pharmacies being closed it means that there is more personnel accessing services at the public facilities, therefore, it means that we need to increase our drug supply in that case. We have vowed to go back to the drawing board of each facility and working with the pharmacy staff and the physicians there to ensure we update that consumption list and bring it back to the office and prepare a regional consumption list, so that we will be better guided to plan for the future,” Stephens said.
When asked for a time frame as to how long there may have been a shortage at the hospital, Stephens responded that he had received an updated list of items which were needed at the hospital on Monday morning. However, he said that he was not in the region at the time to deal with the matter instantly. When pressed further on the matter as to how long the hospital would have been without the supplies, Stephens said he had already answered that question, and that would remain his answer.
Later, during the press conference, Stephens announced that the various drugs and supplies were being transported to the Skeldon Hospital yesterday midday. He also added that they have decided to establish various committees, one being a therapeutic committee, “… and these committees would advise on the basic illnesses across the region and how do we monitor these illnesses, the type of drugs needed and so on.”
Oneil Atkins, National Director for Pharmacy Services, also announced that two more pharmacists would be hired and placed in the region.
Apart from Stephens and Atkins, Alex Foster, the point person for the Public Health Ministry in Region Six, Marcia John, Pharmacist Material Management Unit, Ministry of Public Health, Dr Campbell, the Doctor in charge of Skeldon Hospital and other doctors from the hospital were in attendance at the meeting.