March 31, 2023



Region 10 Chairman raises concerns over lack of doctors at Upper-Demerara Hospital

Regional Chairman Deron Adams

Regional Chairman Deron Adams, said a recent visit to the Upper- Demerara Hospital – which is presently serving as Region 10 COVID-19 Isolation Institution, revealed that presently, only one doctor is manning the health facility. He is calling on the relevant authorities to fix the situation.

 Adams said in a recent visit to the Institution, he was appalled to see only one doctor working and he has been doing so since the Medical Superintendent Dr. Steve Marks, proceeded on special leave. The Doctor, who is also the COVID-19 Coordinator  for Region 10, was asked to manage the facility by regional health officials. Adams said the doctor basically works 24 hours, with no relief because there is no other doctor to fill the spot when he is off-duty. “When his shift ends, he is basically still on-duty, because he is still on call and has to return to the facility at any given time,” Adams explained.

While the Doctor receives the necessary assistance from the team of nurses and other medical personnel stationed there as well as specialised assistance when needed from the Linden Hospital Complex, Adams said he believes that at least one other doctor should be stationed there.

During his visit, Adams said he was also appalled that a mandatory sanitation booth that was recently purchased is not working, though a significant amount of cash was spent on same. Such an equipment is needed at the COVID-19 Institution, he argued.

 During his engagement with the nurses attached to the facility, they related to him that when they commenced training for COVID-19 care, they were told by health officials, that they will receive an allowance for taking up the challenge. To date, they have not been compensated and are calling on the relevant authorities to ensure what was promised to them is delivered.

When this news outlet quizzed the Regional Health Officer(RHO) Dr. Gregory Harris, on the Chairman’s concerns, he related that there is not an urgent need for another doctor to be stationed at the facility to provide that level of care to patients, since the Institution does not have the capacity that requires care from a doctor. At the time of the interview, Dr. Harris related that there was only one patient at the Institution who was asymptomatic. “That means that there is no need for several doctors, for asymptomatic patients, all that is required is the monitoring of the vitals which a nurse can do… of recent, we never had that patient load that requires more doctors. Nurses are there 24-7. When there is need, the Mackenzie Hospital normally assists in terms of specialty services, but we have to be strategic, we cannot expose everyone just like that,” Harris said. He added, “We even received a ventilation machine from the Ministry of Health and thus far we never had cause to use it …..we were able to keep down the numbers significantly,” Dr. Harris related.

Relative to the COVID-19 allowance that was promised to the nurses, Dr. Harris said that such an instruction was never forwarded to the Department of Health from the Ministry and the officials are presently trying to ascertain who the official is that made such a promise to the nurses. The nurses have not identified the individual, he said.