Burnout looming, warns health officialTuesday, August 24, 2021
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Medical staff in the western end of the island are on the brink of burnout, says clinical coordinator for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Delroy Fray.
He is hoping there will soon be a let-up in the flood of COVID-19 cases so that overworked health-care workers will get a chance to rest.
“They have to be doubling up. If within the next week or two the numbers do not go down, we are going to have staff burnout. I am really hoping that the numbers will go down [so] that it can give our staff some time to recover,” he told the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.
Over the past week and a half, he said, there has been a consistent increase in hospitalisation in the region. On the day of the interview, Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James — which has a COVID-19 bed capacity of 32 — had more than three times (97) that amount of COVID-19 patients admitted. A day earlier, there were 64 extra patients in Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital's 18-bed COVID-19 ward. Similarly, the COVID-19 ward at Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover had 27 patients in a space designed for 11. The Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny, which has a COVID-19 field hospital, can accommodate a total of 36 patients; however, 45 were admitted up to last Thursday.
“This puts a lot of pressure on the medical staff,” said Dr Fray, who commended colleagues for their commitment to the job despite the extremely challenging circumstances. They have been finding innovative ways to cope, he said.
“If you have a capacity of X and you far exceed by 2X, you are not going to have a bed. So, this is another innovation that the staff has to do. We have to see everybody. We have to put some on chairs [if they are able to sit], and those who can't sit on chairs will be placed in a bed. So, at all times we have to be adjusting, moving patients, and repurposing places to take them in,” said Dr Fray.
He stressed that the virus is here to stay and the only way around it is to observe the protocols and take the vaccine. Jamaica is in the throes of a third wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Up to last Saturday the health ministry said there were 551 new cases of COVID-19 in the country in the previous 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 61,833. St James accounted for 73 of the new cases, Westmoreland and Trelawny had 28, while Hanover had 16.