Police are now reporting three murders in the last 12 hours.
That was the consensus of relatives of patients seeking emergency care and treatment at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) last week.
They complained about the delays, lack of beds, discourteous staff, and a general lack of efficiency.
Further, many were upset that security guards were giving instructions regarding ward visits and patient information.
The waiting area of the Adult Accident and Emergency was humid despite the air-conditioning. People were fidgeting; some were asking the receptionist questions while others waited patiently. Those who opted to occupy the few seats outside were left scampering for shelter as the rain came. The midday shower left the corridors wet and one could easily skid.
The reception area was at most times left unattended and when a customer service representative did approach the cubicle, people just flocked around seeking to get answers for their questions.
Signage said: Courtesy. Professionalism. Respect. However, all three seemed to be missing.
While some people admitted that the all-round poor service was nothing new at the public health institution, others demanded that it was high time those in office worked harder to ensure that citizens received quality treatment.
The names of those interviewed were omitted to avoid victimisation.
Some had been waiting for as long as ten hours to get word that their relatives had been warded. But being warded did not necessarily mean the patient got a bed on a ward.
It meant that the patient was placed on a gurney on a ward.
An Arima resident was outside on a chair awaiting word on her boyfriend who was vomiting blood.
“Nobody has been attending to him and they said I cannot go inside to be with him.”
The woman said her boyfriend got to the hospital around 6:30 am. She arrived around 10 am but “I went and spoke to the security and he said they will call my name, that to hold on outside.”
She said she had been waiting for over an hour.
The woman said, “This service here is very poor, very, very, very poor. People with emergencies...they are not attending to them. Doctors just strolling around and patients just there in pain bawling and they are going about their business. They don’t care about anybody.”
Asked about the professionalism of staff, she said some were “really nice” and a few were “really bad”.
Service at all-time low
A San Juan resident criticised the healthcare system saying, “(Prime Minister Dr Keith) Rowley has to do something about this.”
The woman said she arrived at the hospital on Tuesday around 4:30 pm hoping to get a CT-Scan performed on a 64-year-old female relative.
After waiting until midnight, she left the patient and returned home but got back to the hospital on Wednesday morning.
“When I called they said they can’t give out information so I had to come back here. I have been here countless times. What’s happening here is nothing new but right now, the service is at an all time low. I think the Government needs to do something about this.”
The woman said the patient’s private doctor sent her to get tests done but after several hours, only an ECG test had been done.
“When I left at midnight she was still sitting waiting to see a doctor and all they said was she had to wait.
She did praise the receptionist but said “they need to get their act together in this hospital”. The patient had received the scan and was warded.
Another woman was waiting on word about her 83-year-old relative who also needed a CT-Scan done.
She arrived at 1 am on Thursday morning and said the patient was only seen around 6 am.
“Her pressure was high. A cleaner felt sorry for her and got the stretcher bed. The woman said her relative was not feeling well and could barely hold herself up.
“We begging for bed...no bed.”
Asked what could be done to improve the service, she said, “I did not like the long wait to see the doctor and I know there are doctors. I just don’t know what is the problem here.”
The Arouca woman rated the experience three out of ten. She too complained that the security guard “did not want us to go in”.
A Caparo resident rated her experience nine out of ten, despite her relative being given “the roller bed outside”.
“They are taking too long to see about her,” a relative complained to the Sunday Guardian.
She and her sisters brought their ailing mother to the hospital at 1 am and “all they give she was two Panadol for pain”.
The woman said staff needed to show some compassion and exercise patience.
“Oh God, no. It was not good...especially the security guard,” when asked about the service.
“You ask a question and they hostile towards you. These people not compassionate.”
To improve service, she recommended that the hospital purchase more beds and train staff in customer service.
Another woman said she demanded proper service from hospital staff.
She said the doctor who treated her 92-year-old-grandmother took the time to explain everything in detail.
“It’s only the security. Yes, you have to abide by their rules. They are harsh at times and the way they speak to you...”
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