Dengue causes overcrowding at public hospitals

THE Ministry of Health & Wellness on Friday advised the public to visit public hospitals only if necessary, as all major ones are overcrowded and people have longer waiting times.

In a release Friday the ministry said the surge in people seeking care stems from the current dengue outbreak, the start of the influenza season, other viral illnesses, and traumatic injuries.

Currently, there are more than 150 dengue-related admissions to hospital.

Said the release: “As at Friday morning, October 20, there were more than 260 patients waiting on beds across 18 public health facilities. The University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional, Spanish Town, and Savanna-la-Mar public hospitals reported the highest number of patients awaiting beds.

“Our hospitals always experience challenges with patients seeking care at this time of the year. And in response to this the ministry, along with the regional health authorities, have put measures in place to ease the burden on the health system – these include extended opening hours for select health centres across the island,” said Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton.

He has encouraged the public to seek medical attention at any of the more than 300 health centres, some of which are open until 8:00 pm, in accordance with the country’s Dengue Outbreak Response Plan.