The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the Ministry of Health to ensure the successful implementation of the Accident and Emergency Services Guidelines developed in 2011 since it will help end the 'No Bed Syndrome'.
This was contained in a statement issued by the association following discussions that have followed the death of the late Anthony Opoku Acheampon, the 70-year-old-man who died after being turned away by seven hospitals due to the ‘no bed syndrome’.
According to the GMA, the phenomenon of ‘no bed syndrome’ has plagued the country for many years and has therefore requested the health ministry to take steps to resolve the challenge.
The GMA in the statement described the situation as ''a constellation of both largely systemic and in some occasions individual factors.’’
The statement also made reference to other factors including lack of functional emergency departments in hospitals and clinics and lack of proper referral/feedback systems and inadequate ambulances and dysfunctional ambulance system; lack of proper intra and inter hospital communication, referrals and feedback; very limited bed capacities for emergency care; deficiencies in bed management systems and patient flow in hospitals; ill-equipped emergency rooms (ERs); inadequate number of trained ER professionals and other support staff, lack of clear guidelines for triaging and managing emergency cases and upfront payment for emergency services rendered.’’
On the individual factors, the GMA referred to poor attitudes of health personnel and frustrations of the ill motivated and understaffed health workers.
In proposing solutions, the GMA called on government through the Ministry of Health to increase funding for the health sector and emergency services in particular; the training of emergency health personnel must be up-scaled to be able to man existing ERs and also new ones.
The Ministry of Health they suggested as matter urgency expand emergency services and equip both old and new ones. The private sector must be encouraged to expand their emergency services. Currently, the private sector offers minimal emergency services.
‘’There must be improved linkages and referral systems between health facilities. The ministry should enforce its policy guidelines on emergency centres directly without going through the agreed levels of care; Internal policy and MoH guidelines must be strengthened so that payment would not be required before emergencies are rendered; Emergency room workers must be educated and re-oriented to maintain the attitude required for such personnel.’’
The statement which was signed by Dr. Titus Beyuo, Assistant General Secretary urged the media to exhibit circumspection and sensitivity to the ethical and socio-cultural norms in reportage on healthcare issues.
‘’The sensationalism and vilification of healthcare professionals in these reports without recourse to the root causes these unfortunate heath outcomes have the tendency to create despondency in otherwise dedicated staff and cause demoralization.’’