“Our patients have not suffered” – GPHC says as unvaccinated workers denied entry

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Some GPHC workers denied entry into the compound for failing to comply with updated Covid-19 measures

Even though several unvaccinated healthcare workers were today denied entry into the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the institution says its patients have not suffered as a result of the staff shortage.

This is according to GPHC’s Communications Manager Chelauna Providence who told INews that approximately fifty employees were denied entry today in keeping with the Covid-19 measures issued by the Ministry of Health.

In updated Covid-19 measures which took effect August 1, the Guyana Government mandated that healthcare workers be vaccinated against the life-threatening virus. Failure to do so would mean that they will be required to submit regular PCR tests to prove that they are not infected with the disease.

At the time, several of these persons had taken to the streets to protest against the measures, causing government to announce on August 11, a two-week timeframe within which they were urged to reconsider their stance and get vaccinated.

This period expired today and many workers who still refused to get vaccinated turned up to work where they were denied entry since they did not produce a negative Covid-19 test.

“Staff were not locked out of the compound. The staff were given very clear instructions, not just yesterday, but two weeks ago and before that, that they need to be vaccinated if there working at the GPHC which is subdivision agency of the Ministry of Health. They were given the option to either be vaccinated or producing a medical PCR test for entrance to the compound and this discussion, like I said, not just started two weeks ago,” Providence explained.

“They were given two weeks to comply with the vaccination or producing a negative PCR. We did send out a memo to our staff yesterday considering that the two weeks have come to an end, letting them know if that if they could not produce their negative PCR or their vaccination cards, they will not be allowed into the compound. So, the staff were not locked out, the staff did not comply with the requirements for entry to the compound,” she added.

Asked specifically how many employees of the GPHC have opted to remain unvaccinated against the novel coronavirus, the Communications Manager said this information is not readily available. However, she said there were about fifty persons who were denied entry today.

In fact, she said persons whom she knows to be vaccinated were also denied entry because they did not produce their Covid vaccine card.

Regarding the impact this situation has had on the delivery of healthcare services today, Providence explained that the GPHC’s patients did not suffer.

“Of course, we do not have our full complement of staff at work, there are some effects that we will feel in terms of how we deliver services. Fortunately, today it wasn’t…,” she expressed.

“We did meet and discuss what contingency plans we will put in place considering the worst-case scenario. Fortunately, today we did not need to deploy any worst-case scenario plans, because we did have staff who were willing to adhere to the requirements and either got their vaccination or produce negative PCRs…,” Providence further noted.

She explained that some employees have been asked to take on some other tasks but nothing too demanding.

“In some areas, we have had to ask people to do a little extra but I’m happy to say that our patients have not suffered as a result of so many of our staff not being at work today,” she explained.