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posted 24 Apr 2015, 15:52 by Gerry Kangalee

The National Health Workers Union, an afilliate of the National Workers Union issued the following statement on 2015-04-24

 Further to the news release issued by the National Health Workers Union (NHWU) dated 22/4/2015 on the total breakdown of air conditioning at the new wing of the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), the union further points out some of the specific hazards and stress issues being borne by staff in the operating theatres. 

It a well-known fact that most patients requiring elective surgery are on waiting lists that can run for years, so that missing an assigned date will result in going back to the end of the line. Even more importantly is the critical need to maintain specific and controlled conditions in the theatre to minimize/prevent the growth of germs and bacteria. The following are excerpts of comments from staff who work in the affected operating theatres. 

“The air-conditioning unit at the Main Operating Theatre, San Fernando General Hospital has been malfunctioning for roughly over a month.

As stated by the engineers, normal working temperature should be between seventeen to eighteen degrees Celsius.  When tested, the result was twenty-two to twenty-six degrees Celsius. The actual event with regard to the air-conditioning unit on a daily basis would be: on mornings the environment would be cool, not cold, by midday the temperature becomes unbearable. 

Various complaints were expressed to management via Head-Nurses with the response of “Letters were being written to those in charge and awaiting solutions.”  

On Tuesday 21st, staff decided that enough is enough and that some decisive action should be taken and a meeting was demanded of Hospital and Nursing Administration at 2 pm. 

They all agreed that the condition is not conducive to a good working environment and decided that the Theatre would run on a 7 am to 12 midday shift. It was requested that most of the staff assume duty for 7 am. This is to facilitate the running of the elective list. After midday the emergency cases would be done in the coolest theatre. 

It was also agreed that an additional filtered water supply and soft drinks will be catered to the staff. All other categories of staff were informed of same. These measures were to be implemented until the problem is rectified.

Update of Present Situation: 

·         Staff turn out for 7 am was favourable.

·         Surgery lists were adjusted to suit the timing.

·         The hot, humid temperature still exists.

·         At 12:30pm three patients were in the recovery room.

·         The Orthopaedic Theatre was about to finish its last case.

·         The Emergency Theatre had one ongoing case.

·         Reception area had no ongoing activity.

While all this is going on the Minister continues to play PR with health care issues and lambast health care workers and Nursing personnel in particular. The goodly Minister has not seen it fit to visit the beleaguered employees and to publicly commend them for their devotion to duty, nor has he seen it fit to demand explanation from the Board of Directors nor senior management why it is that no urgent action was taken to effect repairs when the first air condition unit failed and the mad scramble only began after the last one died. Mr. Minister, stop the PR and do the work.”









Sylvan Wilson, Executive Officer National Workers Union 758 8933