[www.inewsguyana.com] – The condition of the National Psychiatric Hospital, in New Amsterdam, Region Six, has been described as ‘disgraceful’ by Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, following his recent visit.
The Minister met and interacted with staff members who expressed concerns regarding water supply, which they have not been receiving for the past two months, as well as electricity, telephone service and lack of furniture.
“It is pitiful to see the conditions where we have our Guyanese brothers and sisters dwelling… the wards are being cleaned with water from the drain and persons are bathing with and even drinking. This has been going on for two months, this is totally unacceptable,” the Minister said.
During a tour of the institution, it was observed that there currently are four to five store rooms packed with items stored in an improper manner and are therefore being destroyed. These very things are lacking in the hospital.
“One would question why are we wasting things like moisturisers, tissues, bed spreads and chairs, so many things that the hospital needs. What was also surprising is that there are a number of vehicle tyres and jacks that the administration claimed were bought for the Ministry of Health’s vehicles,” Minister Norton said.
He noted that he was informed that most of the vehicles are down and someone has to answer “why that quantity and what are they doing in the store room of the hospital.”
Likewise, some electrical instruments are in the in the kitchen stores. It was also mentioned that the patients had no milk recently, but there is a large quantity of the item in the stores.
“…There again I say the best system will fail if we do not have the personnel… and I as the Minister of Health will put the right person in place,” Minister Norton stressed.
The issue of communication does not only exist in Berbice, but all across the regions. He said that “Probably we as ministers, we took things for granted, so when an institution we are responsible for do not have something like a landline available, we think it is nothing.”
The newly constructed Acute Centre, located in the hospital’s compound will be investigated, according to Dr. Norton. The entire structure is improper; the building is dark and definitely cannot function without electricity.
There is also a canteen which was built without tender and persons who are brought from the prison, being let loose in the hospital, with no police guard.
The Minister promised that these systems will change. He said that the Ministry will re-establish the Mental Health Unit, with an aim of ensuring all Guyanese have access to psychiatric care and evaluation. That unit will include clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. [Extracted and modified from GINA]