Bed shortage is ‘tip of iceberg’ to Health’s problems: McNeil

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PS Pauline McNeil
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BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO 

THE issue of bed shortage at the National Referral Hospital is more than the availability of the beds, says Pauline McNeil, permanent secretary to Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

McNeil revealed this yesterday during a press conference on the issue of bed shortage and overcrowding at the emergency department.

“The issue is more than the availability of the bed, its systematic, it’s functional, its management, it is corporate services, so, these are the issues that we are trying to address,” she said.

McNeil said, in systematic, they have late discharged, laboratory not coming on time to report on time so that it enables the clinicians and doctors to give the results to the patients to enable them to be discharged.

She said when they (clinicians and doctors) discharge the patients, they continue remaining at the NRH because of logistics issues – due to discharged patients not being able to return home quickly.

“So it’s a whole range of issue that we are faced with, so therefore I think the immediate measures is to put in place procedurals and protocols making the clinicians and the nurses to be accountable in times of timely reporting,” McNeil said.

She said there is a lot of a systematic issues that they have to address immediately and in the long term as per the NRH business case, the first phase is NRH improvement and the second phase is east and west HCC clinics.

“We are already having discussion with the ministry of Lands for securing Kukum vicinity in terms of the area around there and we are looking at Rove so that it can provide functional services, not only at health clinic but we also want to have diagnostic laboratory services and other services that can be offered in Kukum and Rove.

“So these are short term measures but right now we want to ensure that the system is functional for NRH so that the flow can be efficient.

“The team is working hard they have started the work putting in place the mechanism in terms of the bed management system task force and already they are finding issues in managing the beds seeing the bottlenecks and all that.

“So we try to address that immediately while going forward for the short to long term measures,” McNeil said.


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