Help for Hospital

May Pen health facility hopes to ease problems with Sigma Run funds

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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Like all other major health institutions in the country, May Pen Hospital in Clarendon is struggling.

That is why St Andrade Sinclair, the hospital's chief executive officer, is happy that organisers of the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run decided to include the Type C hospital in its group of beneficiaries this year.

The other beneficiaries are Diabetes Association of Jamaica, and Lupus Foundation of Jamaica. The run is scheduled for February 17.

“It is not too often that you see a lot of corporate bodies give back to people like us who really need it, especially health care,” Sinclair said at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue office in Kingston.

“Health care is woefully short when it comes to financing, and that is our big problem. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the average amount that should be contributed from your GDP should be eight per cent, and currently the Government provides 5.9 per cent,” Sinclair said, adding that health care in the country “is under serious problems”.

On the long list of needs at the hospital's neo-natal unit are: a resuscitaire machine, incubators, phototherapy lamps, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, ambubags and resuscitation masks, one emergency trolley, 14 bassinets, 12 IV infusion pumps, umbilical catheters, vital sign monitors, and a portable X-ray machine.

He shared that currently, May Pen Hospital is operating beyond its Type C capacity.

“For every day that I've been there, and I have been on board since [last] June, we have run an occupancy rate of over 100 per cent. We are a Category C hospital, that's 150 beds, and we are now operating as a Category B. We have superseded 150. You are talking about, just to feed a patient, $450 a day. I [am] not talking about the dressings or time with nurse or clinicians. It is difficult,” Sinclair lamented.

“What we have to understand is that you have two different types of health care — you have the national and you have for profit. Now for profit you are operating for a profit, so that means hospitalisation is important for you. The more patients you have, is the more money you make, but it is the opposite for a national health care system,” he said.

“We as administrators and professionals have to understand that putting in patients in there and overflowing the system, it is the opposite way you are working. You have to minimise that. That means your average length of stay, on an average, should be four to five days. We are having people living in hospitals; people abandoning their responsibility,” he said.

Sinclair told the Monday Exchange that on an average day the hospital's accident and emergency unit treats over 100 patients. He said that it is a similar situation with the outpatient department.

Added to that, Sinclair said that the hospital is “always” short of experienced staff.

“Physicians who would normally go into internal medicine [and] general surgery have moved. They go to and specialise in neurology, urology, cardiology — all these other areas. If you would normally have four doctors and they [are] giving you about 40 years of experience, you're not getting that now, you're getting junior doctors. You have nurses coming out but the experience is not there, because the people with experience are being extracted out of the system. So it's not that you have a shortage, but the experience is short. That is what is happening,” said Sinclair.

“I am appealing to corporate Jamaica, come in, be angel donors, adopt a hospital, adopt a clinic, because you are going to end up there,” he added.

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