AT a recent public health meeting in Buccoo, one resident called on Health Secretary Dr Agatha Carrington to have more specialist doctors at the Scarborough General Hospital.
The Lowlands resident said she had to pay large sums of money for private specialised care in Trinidad, which she believes should have been provided at Tobago’s hospital.
She recalled one instant where a relative almost had her limb amputated because the care provided at the hospital was not timely. She said the relative had no choice but to seek the services from a specialist in Trinidad.
The resident said, “She had do a procedure costing $60,000, then she had to spend another $20,000 and then a further $15,000. After being discharged, she was asked to return every three days and we were forced to find a place for her to stay in Port of Spain. Her treatment lasted two months; thank God she is alive and well but the expenses were costly.”
The woman said her daughter and even she suffered a similar issue and had to go to Trinidad.
"While all this was happening, we have been going to doctors here who had no clue what the situation was and they still gave us prescription. We realised it was a vein issue and there was no vein specialist in Tobago. Now I have to continuously go to Trinidad. If we had a specialist here, we would have saved a lot of time and money,” she added.
Carrington replied, "It is difficult for me to appreciate the fact that the existing doctors that we have at the hospital, that no one can identify the condition you have outlined to us. Putting that aside, if you say indeed that is the case, that no one knew and you had to seek help in the private sector, we are not happy that that has happened, because most of the doctors in medicine we have can identify problems with circulation.”
She said the services will be provided and encouraged the resident still to seek care at the public sector in Tobago and the division would address any deficiency in the service.
Another resident of Post Office Street, Buccoo called on the division to improve the healthcare at the Buccoo Health Centre. He said, “We need more attendants, we get a doctor once a month. When we come, we are told we need to go to the Canaan Health Centre. We need this service improved for the old people on the community.”
Dian James recommended that the hospital improve the standard of service.
Ingrid Melville, chairman of the Tobago Regional Health Authority, said there are plans to have a refreshment area for patients.
She said the waiting time has been reduced. "We want to put in a system where the time you come will be logged in, so we can have an idea of the patient waiting time so we can do better in this area,” she said.
Lawrence Junior raised concerns about the attire of nurses at the Scarborough Hospital.
“I worried if I fall she won’t be able to help me up because her clothes was so tight that even if her purse fell she won’t be able to pick it up. Is there a dress code?” he asked.
TRHA acting CEO Michelle Edwards-Benjamin, responded: “There is a dress code in effect for nursing staff. I have noted you said this incident took place over two years ago, but I want to reassure you that we monitor these types of breaching among the staff. I am sure that situation would have improved from that time to now and I’m sure you’ll continue to see improvement in that area.”