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Surgeries affected at Sando hospital
The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has taken out advertisements in daily newspapers to fill vacant positions of anaesthetists at San Fernando General Hospital. The hospital has been hit with an acute shortage of anaesthetists, after the resignation of one specialist, and the ill health of two others within the last month. Acting medical director Dr Lester Goetz confirmed that the shortage has affected elective surgeries at the hospital.
In a telephone interview during a meeting he was having with SWRHA CEO Anil Gosine and executive medical director Dr Shevanand Gopeesingh to discuss the issue, Goetz said it was not a case of poor planning. “We never predicted two people would fall ill and one would resign, all in one month,” he said. “We have five senior people and we are left with two to manage the Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit, in addition to the list.
“It just happened and we are taking a lot of urgent steps to get back to get back to normal fairly soon. “For now we are doing only emergency surgeries and some elective surgeries, which are not necessarily emergencies but are urgent. “We are running three operating theatres and all elective surgeries requiring local anaesthetic are being done,” he explained, identifying cataract surgeries as an example.
Gosine said the SWRHA had received expressions of interest from four anaesthetists in Barbados and they had already interviewed two others. “Since last July, we have been trying to get anaesthetists, even in the region,” he said. “We spent a lot of money placing ads in the Jamaica Gleaner, because there is a medical faculty there, but there is just a shortage of anaesthetists to be employed by us.”
Gosine said Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan promised to fill the positions with anaesthetists from Cuba, but that has not materialised. In an interview with the T&T Guardian during last Friday’s sod-turning ceremony for a children’s hospital in Couva, Khan said they were looking at redeploying anaesthetists from the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope to fill the void at the San Fernando hospital.
Gosine said: “We are doing much more surgeries than Mt Hope and Mt Hope has more anaesthetists…If Dr Khan can make that happen, we will be very happy.”
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