Health & Beauty
November 17, 2006

‘Discomfort is not an emergency’

“A person that is in pain is not necessarily an emergency case.”

Those were the words of Minister of Health, Dr Douglas Slater, as he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT HEALTH during a recent interview.

He was at the time expressing his disappointment and anger at the way health care workers are treated, especially in the Accident & Emergency Department.

“Without reservation I think the general public needs to be more appreciative of health care personnel,” declared Dr Slater.{{more}}

He said that he had personally witnessed incidences of abuse by members of the public against health care workers which he described as “very painful to see.”

“People are too abusive of health care personnel, they are too unfair,” Dr Slater said.

He said that people either don’t know or don’t care about the purpose of the Accident & Emergency(A&E) Department so when they go to the A&E they are frustrated when in their estimation they are not taken care of quickly enough.

“An emergency is considered an illness that if it is not promptly attended to will deteriorate into complications including death,” explained Dr Slater.

So even though a mother may carry a sick child, who is in discomfort, to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning the question that will determine the swiftness of the care given will still be how critical is the complaint.

He said that he cannot recall any instance of death at the department as a result of lack of prompt attention at the department. The health minister said that the people who complain, and often abuse the hospital staff, are people who may be in discomfort but are not what would be considered emergency cases.