PM addresses improvements needed at A&E department
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves
October 18, 2019
PM addresses improvements needed at A&E department

Six ways to improve patients’ experience at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) are being looked at by the government.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made this revelation on Monday at the launch of the Charter of Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities.

“One of the areas where we get criticisms down here is Accident and Emergency. There are six areas where we need to lift our game on,” the PM said while speaking at the MCMH.

The first area, according to the PM, involves having nurses better trained in emergency medicine, life support, advanced cardiac support and orthopaedic nursing.

“We have to make sure that some of our nurses or good nurses go into these areas,” Gonsalves said.

The second area is ensuring that nursing and ancillary staff who are skilled in A&E are not rotated out to this area if it can be helped. The PM said that too often the trained and experienced staff are rotated.

Recognizing another issue to be addressed, Gonsalves said that the A&E has to facilitate more prompt attendance by consultants or senior medical staff.

“Often this lack of promptitude creates unnecessary anxiety for patients even when they are in proper care of competent junior medical staff,” Gonsalves pointed out.

The fourth area involves providing a sufficient amount of life support equipment and consumables (IV drips, medicines and dressing supplies). The PM said that this must be looked at, even though the government spends over $15 million on pharmaceutical and other supplies yearly.

“We still need to manage that properly because some the supplies are wasted or misplaced and find themselves where they should not be,” the PM commented.

Another area according to Gonsalves involves giving more information to the public about what A&E is about.

“Too many patients misuse and abuse the service, in that their ailment is not an accident or emergency,” noted Dr. Gonsalves.

The sixth area is improving the waiting area of the A&E. Gonsalves said he would like that area in Kingstown to mirror that of the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown.

“We have to make the waiting area more comfortable, because I want us to deliver excellent service,” said Gonsalves.

He added also that there is a gap in the tertiary health care provided, but that is being addressed by entities like the World Paediatric Project (WPP), the sending of persons overseas for medical care in places like Cuba and invitation of medical experts to deal with certain medical issues.

Gonsalves however noted that while there are issues with health care, persons also must pay attention to their health, as in SVG, the highest causes of deaths are connected to personal behaviour and lifestyle.

In SVG the causes of death in order are, diabetes/hypertension, cancer, heart problems, accidents and criminal violence.

“You have a responsibility for your lifestyle,” stressed Gonsalves who noted that the government will spend for 2019, some $83.2 million on health care.

Last year, the health sector brought in $2.4 million. EC$500,000 of this money came from the medical schools who pay for rotations at the facility, as the MCMH struggles to get patients to pay their medical bills.

It must also be noted that patient care could cost as much as EC$600 a day, while the administering of drugs like Heberprot-P (to diabetic patients) could cost as much as EC$30,000 per patient.