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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Move to make GH safe, in keeping with WHO message

Ramya Kannan
Authorities to restrict entry to hospital, except during visiting hours

A patient will be allowed one attender who will be issued a pass
Some entries and exits will be closed and only a limited number of gates be open from today

CHENNAI: Taking a cue from the World Health Organisation’s message and theme for this World Health Day (April 7), the State’s largest public healthcare facility, Government General Hospital, is launching a new venture to create a safe atmosphere for all on its own premises.
The WHO theme this year is ‘Save Lives. Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies.’
“The GH has the best of infrastructure and facilities, and medical experts. But we are aware of the need to bring in some disciplined way of functioning on the campus,” GH Dean (in charge) C.Rajendran told The Hindu. He said that at present there was no means of restricting visitors of patients, leading to safety issues for all – patients and hospital personnel.
“Anyone can walk in anytime, there is no authorisation or clearance. If you consider that there are at least 10 attenders for every patient, we have about 300 inpatients. That is about 30,000 people on the campus, almost constantly,” he added. This is apart from the outpatients, who number between 7,000 and 10,000 every day, accompanied by attenders.
The hospital authorities are going to begin with restricting entry to the hospital, except during visiting hours. While a patient would be allowed one attender who would be issued a pass, any other visitor would have to wait until the visiting hours to come in.
This would not be restricted to the patient attenders, but all staff of the hospital – doctors, nurses, ward boys, ayahs, cleaning staff and security personnel – according to S.M.Chandramohan, head, Gastrointestinal Surgery, GH. Staff had been issued ID cards, which they should produce on demand and to enter the hospital.
There were about 16 entrances/exits through which people could enter the hospital. Some of them would be shut down and only a limited number of gates would be kept open from Wednesday to control the crowds coming in. “Unless we control the crowds, there is no way we can bring down infection levels or even ensure safety of those who are treated in the GH and those who work there,” Dr. Chandramohan said.
According to the WHO, the focus of this year’s World Health Day was on the safety of health facilities and the readiness of health workers who treat those affected by emergencies. The WHO and its partners stressed the importance of investing in health infrastructure that can withstand hazards and serve people in immediate need.
Principal Secretary, Health, V.K.Subburaj said, “These first steps are part of a pilot project. Crowds are a huge problem within our hospitals, almost everywhere. We intend to strictly enforce discipline and restrict entry. This will slowly bring down infection rates too.”
He added that this would be implemented in all government hospitals and health centres eventually.

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