Georgetown Hospital must strive for quality
-- Dr. Ramsammy urges

by Gwen Evelyn
Guyana Chronicle
October 10, 1999

AS the Georgetown Hospital administration met Friday at a strategic planning retreat held at the Park Hotel, Board Chairman, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said that the institution's management must strive for quality.

In a particularly forceful speech, Dr Ramsammy said quality assurance is an important goal the hospital administration must try to achieve.

"One of the objectives (of the retreat) must be to improve quality. Quality assurance and quality control are important goals for the strategic path that the hospital takes as it approaches the millennium," Ramsammy said.

"Quality management is no longer a conceptual or philosophical debate. It is a necessity of practice," he continued.

While the Georgetown Hospital plays a pivotal role in the health sector, Ramsammy observed that the institution is a disappointment to most Guyanese, providing poor service despite improvements over the last decade.

Its technology and physical plant are not only in disrepair, but are also obsolete.

He observed that human resource requirements and capacity have now become critical. The need for capacity building - institutional and human resources - threatens to abolish all gains made so far and to diminish any increase in financial outputs at the hospital.

Observing that the hospital's problems are not new, Dr. Ramsammy said extensive documentation of the problems have been made and there are several recommendations.

However, in spite of all the studies and recommendations, the hospital continues to be a source of frustration for the Government and the public.

"No water, no electricity, sewage back-up, security breaches, abandoned buildings, incubators that don't work, sterilisers that break down, theatres that close down, wards that are filled, wards that are empty, demoralised staff because of low salaries, poor working conditions, not enough drugs, labs that don't work, long waiting lines, no doctors for...accidents and emergencies, long lists for surgery, equipment that are unused because no personnel are available..."were some of the irritants listed by Dr. Ramsammy.

"The future appears bleak, but I want to argue that it can get better," the health official said.

The `healing' of the institution will not come with technological breakthroughs but from better use of what it already has.

Poor management, in general, has plagued the institution, Ramsammy went on.

According to him, cost over-run has led to significant waste of scarce resources that could have been used to remedy other problems, he said.

Information based decision-making has eluded managers for the longest while, he said.

For instance, in 1997, 37 per cent of all admissions at the hospital were made in the Maternity Department. But the number of beds there accounted for less than 10 per cent of the beds in the hospital.

Ramsammy said that if management had used information in making decision about bed distribution in the hospital, the number of beds in the ward may have been different.

Hospitals in Guyana must be transformed into efficient and effective healing centres.

And the new Georgetown Hospital now endeavours to redesign itself structurally and functionally so it could better serve patients.

The aim of the seminar is to obtain maximum input into the preparation of a Strategic Plan for the Georgetown Hospital and to provide a basis for the allocation of hospital resources.

It is expected that at the end of the seminar, there will be a written draft of a recommended vision and mission statement for the hospital.

Another outcome should be the prioritised listing of key issues facing the hospital.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples