Confusion unfolded at the Georgetown Public Hospital on Wednesday during a visit by the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services which resulted in the Chairperson, Dr. Vindhya Persaud being instructed out of the storage bond.
At the beginning of the announced tour, Chairperson of the GPHC Board, Kesaundra Alves announced that the tour will be confined to four departments – Accident and Emergency, Surgical Outpatient, Cardiac ICU and the Pediatric Unit.
However, the Committee, Headed by Dr. Persaud decided that it would be important to visit other key departments, including the Bond.
Vibrant efforts were made by the hospital management to prevent the visit to the bond with repeated calls for the tour to be restricted to the four areas management had identified.
Dr. Persaud resisted the attempts and climbed the stairs to the wooden building to get a closer look at the conditions under which drugs are stored at the GPHC.
At this point, the Alves claimed that it was not part of the tour and no preparations were made by the staff for such a visit. Alves also said that the Committee had only written to tour the A&E Department.
Alves even attempted to order the media out of the building but with the permission of Dr. Persaud, media personnel and Parliamentary staff remained as the committee engaged staff.
It was while the Committee was receiving recommendations for improvement of the facility that the acting Chief Executive Officer, Allan Johnson came and in a loud tone instructed Dr. Persaud, her team and the media out of the building.
He claimed that ‘the Minister” wanted the tour of the bond to be discontinued immediately.
Minister of Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Valerie Lowe were both present but it is not clear who the instruction came from.
At this point, the tour of the hospital had already dragged on for three hours with both Ministers pushing for an end so that they could attend other engagements.
The Committee Chair complied with the instructions but said she does not feel that it is something that should have been done.
“We had written to see the entire hospital and we should have been allowed to see the entire hospital. I don’t think that was well done,” she said.
The Chair added that the actions of management gives the impression that there is something to hide although that may not be the case.
The Committee was informed by staff that it would be a good idea if a bigger bond could be constructed at the GPHC so that all the drugs can be stored in one place.
Currently drugs for the hospital are stored at other facilities in the City.
The Committee was also able to confirm news of defective paracetamol and Soda Lime found in the bond.
The drugs which were supplied to the GPHC by the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation were delivered earlier this year, one staff member claimed.
Among the other issues raised were the shortage of staff, across the board, and in some cases the shortage of drugs.
The Committee heard that these two issues were the main hamper to the delivery of efficient healthcare and leads to overcrowding at the facility.
It was also related that efforts were being made to improve the procurement of drugs through computerization so that the issue of shortage will soon become an issue of the past.
The hospital is said to have a stable supply of necessary equipment but calls were made for more specialization by doctors and nurses.
The Administration was praised for its response to pediatric care.