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Staff members outside the Emergency Department at the Point Fortin, Hospital, yesterday.

RADHICA DE SILVA

[email protected]

Less than a week after the Point Fortin Hospital was converted into a COVID facility, staffers claim COVID patients were not getting meals on time because of manpower shortages.

A source, who requested anonymity, said while the existing staff were doing their best in the circumstances, COVID patients were suffering.

“The few nurses and support staff are overwhelmed. It’s been more than a year now and all workers are exhausted mentally and physically with more and more demands being made on workers every day.”

Because of the stress and staff shortages, the source said basic tasks were not getting done.

“ (Earlier this week) breakfast was made but never went up to the wards. Lunch was made at 12 but it reached patients nearly 4 pm. There is hardly any staff around. No one knows what to do. Everything is so disorganised. The Health Ministry took a mere nine hours to convert the fully functional hospital into a full COVID-19 treatment facility and there was not enough time to get everything arranged,” the source added.

Officials from SWRHA said a detailed comprehensive response will be issued today.

Under the existing arrangement, hospital wards are considered hot zones which means they are unsafe and anyone entering there must wear their full PPE. The ground floor which comprises the pharmacy, offices, security and main entrance is considered the cold zone and is supposed to be safe.

“ The staff can’t be blamed ….they are doing their best but because everything is so rushed with no proper communication, it’s become a problem. Bmobile does get a signal in the hospital so you cannot receive calls and no Wifi. This adds to the stress,” the source added.

The fully functional hospital previously dealt with gynaecology, maternity, obstetrics, medical wards and Accident and Emergency (A&E) but as COVID cases continued to climb, it was converted to a COVID-19 management facility on May 21, providing emergency care to COVID-19 patients only.

In a statement last week, the South West Regional Health Authority said anyone requiring Emergency Services (Accident & Emergency) should visit the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) or Siparia District Health Facility.

The existing patients at Point Fortin were transferred to San Fernando while the Point Fortin Health Centre service hours were extended to 8 am to 8 pm daily.

The Point Fortin Health Centre continued to do COVID vaccinations via appointments while the old Area Hospital was converted to a COVID- step down facility.

Officials from SWRHA said a detailed comprehensive response will be issued on Thursday.