Public hospital plans teaching, research role

Stabroek News
November 13, 2002

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The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has begun to define its new role which includes being the primary hospital for teaching and research, says Director of Medical & Professional Services, Dr Madan Rambaran.

Dr Rambaran, who was at the time speaking at the opening of the Burn Care Unit of the hospital last Sunday, said one such challenge is to articulate as precisely as possible what the hospital will and can do.

“While this may seem simple enough it is a very complex issue and has to do with how the hospital has functioned historically with its diverse array of functions from primary health care through responsibility for district and regional health service functions, the capacity and state of the regional health service, cultural issues, public expectations and demands, finance, etc” the doctor said.

He said “these issues are further confounded by the noise being generated by those who trumpet the exception as being representative of the norm and vulgarly exploit what should be sacred life and health for crass personal gain.” Dr Rambaran said unravelling these issues and precisely positioning the hospital continues to be a challenge that they are grappling with.

According to Dr Rambaran over the last three years the hospital has made significant progress in meeting its obligations for teaching and research. “The hospital can now more than ever before be more genuinely described as a teaching hospital.”

In addition the hospital has enhanced and deepened the usual programmes for medical students, laboratories and x-ray technology and pharmacists. He said GPHC has introduced several new programmes in response to solving some of its human resource needs adding that there is a patient care assistant course as a strategy to deal with the chronic nursing shortage, an orthopaedic technician course and a phlebotomist (safe blood letting) course among others.

Since last year the hospital has had a fully structured and formal internship programme that includes a requirement for research papers while most departments now have regular mortality and morbidity conferences.

Dr Rambaran said graduate training of doctors, nurses and medical technologists is now more vibrant through bedside clinical teaching, mortality and morbidity conferences, continuing medical education sessions and research. And a body of research pertaining to their local experience is slowly emerging and is serving to inform policy decisions.

Among the strategies the hospital has engaged to meet some of its objectives is the development and nurturing of international linkages. It has several such linkages in place with both individuals and institutions and is working to strengthen these and to forge new ones. Among the linkages are the United States Airforce Southern Command, the International Hospital for Children and Medical College of Virginia, Leeds Infirmary in England, the University of Lancashire, Health Volunteer Overseas, Yale-Griffin Internal Medicine Residency programme, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee and ORBIS International.

He said while there is some service component in all these linkages, they are all heavily weighted in the direction of training. He disclosed that the hospital was recently visited by a team from Virginia and surgeries were performed on nine children with patent ductus arteriosus (a heart/lung disorder).

He feels that in utilising these international resources together with its own capacities the hospital is well advanced in establishing a formal and certifiable postgraduate residency training programme for doctors.

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