EDITORIAL- Time to focus on our hospitals

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HEALTH authorities finally come out yesterday to admit the crisis situation at the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

No sick person deserves to be treated on the floor of a national hospital, let alone lying helplessly there while waiting for a doctor.

Sadly, this is exactly what’s happening right now at the country’s top hospital.

Authorities blamed the situation on overcrowding and shortages of bed.

Unfortunately, this is the only best excuse they could come up with.

Be that as it may, it’s quite heartening to note they are now bringing in place short-term measures to alleviate the situation.

These include:

  1. Establishment for the first time a Bed and Patient Taskforce Committee.
  2. Keeping the medical laboratory operating on 24-hour basis to enable doctors to make diagnosis early and plan for medical management of patients.
  3. Setting up customer patient care service at the Accident & Emergency Department (AED).
  4. Reducing length of stay for patients
  5. Controlling overcrowding at the AED
  6. Creating an additional 71 beds, and others.

The current situation does not just happen yesterday.

The problem has been there for years, albeit at a much smaller scale.

Had authorities take their responsibilities seriously, it should not have reached the situation we are in today.

We have a rapidly growing population, but with a health care system that has been neglected for years.

So the situation at the NRH does not come as a surprise for those who have been reading the signs.

Here’s what must be done now.

First, upgrade and equip all the provincial hospitals so that the number of referral cases from the provinces could be reduced.

Second, stop talking and start building the proposed hospital earmarked for east Honiara.

The nation urgently needs a bigger and better hospital with the capacity to cater for our growing population.

It’s time to translate the sweet speeches and promises to action.