Kukua Asamoah/Christabel Addo
Accra, June 12, GNA - The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has directed all hospitals not to turn away any emergency cases that are sent to their health facilities at any point in time.
The Health facilities should rather admit all emergency cases, stabilise the cases and arrange for proper transfer to a higher referral hospital for thorough care.
The directive was given against the backdrop of a recent case involving a 70 year-old man who reportedly died in his car at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie in Accra after he had been turned away by seven hospitals because they claimed they had no beds to admit him.
The man, whose name was given as Prince Anthony Opoku Acheampong, is said to have been taken first to the C&J Medicare Hospital, then to the Korle-Bu Polyclinic, the Ridge Hospital, the Police Hospital, the Trust Hospital, La Polyclinic before finally arriving at the LEKMA Hospital.
The hospitals are said to have refused to admit the man because they claimed they did not have beds.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of Ghana Health Service, who gave the directive on Tuesday in Accra at the opening of session of the Maternal, Child health and Nutrition Conference 2018, said “the emerging phenomenon of no bed syndrome must stop”.
The three-day conference, which was being held for the first time in the country, is on the theme: “Strengthening Partnerships for achieving Universal Health Coverage in Reproductive Maternal, Child, Adolescent health and Nutrition”.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said “the hospital Protocol says that when emergency comes to the hospital, first and foremost you stabilise the patient and when you cannot handle the patient after stability, you sent the patient to the next level.
“And sending the patient to the next level is the responsibility of the referring hospital, and where the patient has been referred to, the patient is seen and then managed.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said the stabilisation of patient did not necessarily need a bed.
“There are bed trolleys, wheel chairs, and even a table or a couch that could be used, adding the most important thing was to make the patient comfortable and then start the first treatment.
You don’t tell the patient who has been sent in by an ambulance or a taxi to go away.”
He said it was the responsibility of the Doctor in-charge at the Hospital to see to all cases and make the necessary decisions that would not jeopardise the life of any patient.
Dr Nsiah-Asare said “So the letters I have written round today is that under no circumstance should any person who has not got the locus should tell anybody to go away because there is no bed. Also, the Hospital in charges will take full responsibility, if anything happen to any patient who is sent away, and we will take them on.
The DG said the hospital protocol also applied to all private hospitals that had the obligation imposed by the regulatory body, the Medical and Dental Council, to the effect that all hospitals should see emergencies and give first aid to make sure that patients went out of a facility safe and sound.
He said the GHS would ensure that all hospitals were monitored to do the right thing, and that officials would go round the facilities to check under the policy of accountability which was being implemented.
First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, who was the Special Guest at the event, commended the efforts of stakeholders to meet within the three days to discuss and find solutions that would help improve “the way you work as key service providers”.
She called for increased collaboration among key stakeholders in the health sector to help attain and achieve universal health coverage.