Long wait at Emergency Room is due to sick calls by staff and patients who do not really need ‘emergency care,’ Joseph says

As nurses at the only public hospital threaten industrial action over their working conditions, Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph is apparently blaming hospital workers and residents, themselves, for the challenges being faced in the Emergency Room.

Persons who seek treatment at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre continue to complain about the length of time it takes to receive medical attention. They allege that the wait in the Emergency Room can exceed 12 hours at times.

Reportedly, Cabinet colleagues questioned Sir Molwyn about the time factor during their September 7 sitting, and he explained that it is not uncommon for personnel assigned to the Emergency Room to call-in sick. This, therefore, reduces the number of staff available to treat the sick. 

Sir Molwyn also claims that many of the people who show up to the Emergency Room are really in need of “urgent care” and not “emergency care.”

According to the Minister of Health, over a fixed period, the hospital’s Medical Director surveyed a number of persons who sought treatment at the Emergency Room. He says the doctors concluded that fewer than 50% of these patients were real emergencies, although they were in need of urgent care.

However, Sir Molwyn says, the hospital is “planning to increase the number of doctors and nurses assigned to the Emergency Room and to quickly determine which patients fall into which of the two groups and to treat them accordingly.”