Security at two polyclinics offering round-the-clock care is being beefed up as they open all hours from Saturday, the Ministry of Health today announced.
The Winston Scott Polyclinic and the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex are to see security guards posted on a continuous rotation, acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kenneth George said in a Government Information Service release.
CCTV surveillance cameras and panic buttons have been installed at the clinics, the statement said.
There are also to be secured areas accessible only by medical staff, and a system is already in place at the Winston Scott Polyclinic where security guards check visitors at the entry for weapons, using wands, Dr George added.
“Clear guidelines” on how to deal with disruptive patients had been devised to assist staff, he is reported as saying.
Explaining the extension of opening hours in the polyclinics, the acting Chief Medical Officer said it would make health care accessible to the population whenever they needed it, and secondly, to divert “urgencies and minor emergencies” from an over-burdened Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the polyclinics.
He emphasized that the QEH remained for acute, life-threatening emergencies such as gunshot wounds, chest pain, abdominal pain, fractures and serious eye injuries.
In the polyclinics, he said, patients could be treated for asthma, coughs and colds, the range of non-communicable diseases such diabetes and hypertension, and lacerations.
Dr George said: “What we don’t want to happen is for those simple cases to go to the Accident and Emergency Department at the QEH because this is responsible for the long waiting times patients often experience there.”
All the medical staff who will be working in the new system had undergone an eight-week intensive training course, at the end of which they were certified as emergency caregivers.
Their skills are expected to be further enhanced through exchange relationships to be established with the QEH, Dr George added.
But the senior health ministry official warned: “ it will be a learning process and for the first few months there may be teething issues…we will learn from the experience, and where there are changes to be made, we will certainly put those in place.”