Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Fuad hears woes of hospital staff
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, during a tour of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital yesterday, was bombarded with complaints by staff members who complained of a variety of issues, including being at risk of contracting HIV and swine flu. Khan, accompanied by general manager of operations at the hospital Ameena Ali and other officials, promised to investigate the complaints and take action where necessary.
Outside the medical library and students quarters, a small group of wardsmaids called out to the minister, saying they were at risk of being infected with HIV because of needles that were poorly disposed of. “They picking up syringes on the ground. I for one am fed up. I get stick many times,” Bernice Dunbar shouted. “How much more could we take?” she asked.
The issue Dunbar raised related to how hazardous waste, including used needles, was being disposed of at the hospital. She said doctors were not following proper disposal policies and expected the maids to clean up after them. The minister said the hospital had a policy for the disposal of sharp instruments, like needles, and promised to investigate the claims. “That’s a serious thing. That is adverse-events policy... We have put everything in place because of HIV and communicable diseases,” Khan added.
At another stop, Khan was approached by nurses working at the Accident and Emergency Department, who complained about not receiving vaccines or masks to fend off swine flu. The minister had confirmed six cases of the virus two weeks ago and noted that the deaths of two patients suspected of having the virus were being investigated. The nurse, who did not identify herself, said because protective masks had to be changed after seeing each patient, she was now working without one as there were no more available.
She added: “The first time we had a suspected case, I had to beg GMRTT (Global Medical Response of T&T, a private ambulance service) for a mask. “We do not have the protective equipment to be used. Yes, we are the first line and it’s not only doctors... nurses see the patients.” Ali interjected, saying if additional protective gear was required, nurses should simply request it. She said: “It is a question of not really complaining.
“I would like to see whether it was requested because the workers who handling those areas they are competent enough to put a request in.” Khan said it was important to write in the request properly and said he would go to inspection control to “deal with that now. “I am taking your complaint and I will deal with that,” he said. Jerard de Peza, a mechanic at the hospital, also stopped Khan along the tour to complain that the Engineering Department needing urgent refurbishment and lack of equipment.
When a member of Khan’s entourage told De Peza to send a list, he said he was fed up of doing that and getting no response. “We tired send the list. We tired. The Engineering Department is the pulse of the hospital,” he added. Khan said he was aware the department was not being used effectively, saying: “We have to outsource too much of things and I want to stop that.”
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