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Ministry of Health to review SLBMC Emergency Room operations

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will undertake a review of the operations of the Emergency Room at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) to improve its efficiency and reduce patients’ waiting time.

This follows continued complaints from patients visiting the ER about long waits at the medical facility before receiving medical attention.

Health Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph, made the commitment to the Cabinet that his ministry will implement measures to reduce wait times and to improve the overall efficiency of the Emergency Room.

Sir Molwyn explained part of the issue stems from the need for more medical personnel which is compounded by the fact that many people who show up to the emergency room are in need of “urgent care” and not “emergency care”.

He said that the Director of the SLBMC surveyed several patients who sought treatment at the ER over a fixed period. They were able to conclude, based on this analysis, that less than 50 percent of the patients who came to the hospital could be categorised as “emergencies”, but were in need, rather, of “urgent care”.

SLBMC is therefore planning to increase the number of doctors and nurses assigned to the Emergency Room and which will help facilitate a quick determination of which category of care the patients fall into and provide treatment accordingly.

Last Thursday, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, said the long-term plan involves increasing the number of staff at the polyclinics across the country which will allow them to treat patients who need urgent care.

 “What we are hoping to ensure is for the polyclinics that have been recently built, or those that existed before, to be staffed with sufficient doctors and nurses to allow for around the clock operation.

What that means is that it won’t be necessary to go to the Emergency Room at the SLBMC, but to the polyclinics for ‘urgent care’ when that is what is really required,” he explained.

He emphasised that this new arrangement will depend on the availability of sufficient doctors and nurses as well as the government’s ability to hire them.

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