GPHC needs 600+ more nurses, additional beds to improve services

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Some healthcare workers attached to the Infectious Disease Hospital

While the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has made significant strides towards building a world-class healthcare system, the availability of beds for patients and shortage of nursing staff still poses a challenge to the current system.

The GPHC provided primary healthcare services to over 22,000 patients this year, with its daily occupancy rate standing at 95 percent.

Additionally, GPHC recorded a 38 percent increase in referrals from hospitals across the country, and as a result, wards are always filled.

However, despite the increase in patient care, the accidents and emergencies department only have 18 beds, and this number is less in other units.

This was disclosed during the hospital’s End of Year press conference on Thursday, where a total of 13 heads of departments testified that the availability of beds for patients is affecting the function of their departments.

During his remarks, GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robbie Rambarran explained that the Ministry of Health is aware of the issue and facilities under construction to address the shortage.

This includes the expansion of the medical block, which is approximately 85 percent complete and when commissioned will provide the hospital with an additional 30 beds.

“So yeah, we’re expanding there’s going to be an additionally 30 beds we think that’s going to solve the problem that we’re having…you asked a question about increase in beds, there are a lot of discussions ongoing there are new hospitals that are being built, those hospitals will have 150 beds. With the training that we are doing here and specialist that we are bringing in the country to work care and the services at the Georgetown Hospital will be decentralized. So, perhaps when those hospitals start working and operating to its optimum, they might actually reduce the need for additional beds at Georgetown Hospital,” Dr. Rambarran stated.

Meanwhile, on the issue of human resource, the Georgetown Public Hospital is short of some 600 nurses; this represents a deficit of 55 percent.

Currently, 896 nurses are employed at the hospitals and of that number 86 were hired this year inclusive of 33 nurses from Cuba.

However, 146 nurses resigned this year and according to the Director of Nursing Services Dr. Leslyn Holder this number continues to increase.

While the reasons the nurses’ resignation was not provided, Holder disclosed that robust training is ongoing to address the issue.

“We have improved the content, the numbers and number of intake for candidates coming to us to be trained as patient care assistants. This year we graduated 47 patient care assistants and that was in September, when we started in November 50 students and another 50 will commence in February, the target is 100. Additionally, we are now mandated to commence local training for nursing assistants in March of 2024 this will boost our nursing compliment significantly,” Dr. Holder explained.

Further, Holder disclosed that the Ministry of Health has issued a request for more Cuban nurses.