Emergencies only at health facilities in south-central parishesFriday, July 02, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Health services at facilities in three south-central parishes were severely impacted yesterday with almost half of the scheduled doctors calling in sick, reducing operations to emergencies only.
The public health sector has been reeling from human resource challenges, including a number of doctors being without signed contracts, delays in the payment of gratuities and some salaries.
Regional director at the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) – Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth – Michael Bent told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the sick-out resulted in only 144 doctors turning up for work.
“We had expected 302 to come in [as] scheduled, but 158 of them have called in sick,” he said.
“Some [doctors] didn't turn up at health centres, but the most impactful would be the hospitals, so essentially all the facilities are [in] emergency mode,” he added.
At the Mandeville Regional Hospital 88 of the 124 doctors scheduled for the facility called in sick, while at the May Pen Hospital 21 of the 79 doctors joined the sick-out.
Only four of the 16 doctors scheduled turned up for work at the Percy Junor Hospital and at the Black River Hospital only 10 of the 21 scheduled doctors turned up.
“The facilities were being manned by consultants and the senior persons [doctors], so we have had to reschedule some of the outpatient clinics,” said Bent.
“We have tried to manage the situation as best as possible. The public has to understand that there will be delays in most cases [for] those who need to be in the hospital,” he added.
Senior medical officer at the Mandeville Regional Hospital Dr Everton McIntosh said the consultants at the facility were few in number.
“Not much of a contingency we can have, because if the doctors are not at work then it is just left to the consultants which are few in number. It is impossible to maintain the same level of service, so it means that we just have to go to emergency mode,” he said.
He was hopeful that the ongoing contract dispute would be resolved soon.
“Strictly emergencies… We can't run any clinics, only emergency surgeries and hope that it is resolved in a short space of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Manchester's medical officer of health Dr Nadine Williams said not all 19 health facilities in the parish were opened yesterday.
“There is [an] impact certainly in the parish, but we were still able to carry out some services…. Today [yesterday] wasn't such a bad day for us, because we only had three health centres that would have been offering curative services,” she said.
She said the services at the Mandeville, Pratville and Robin's Hall health centres were downscaled with some patients being attended to and others rescheduled.
“We are trying to see how we can manage with the staff that is available,” she said.