This week let’s talk about hospitals. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Again, I will emphasize that our aim for these discussions is to identify problems and offer suggestions for improvement. Criticisms are always difficult to hear, especially when they are directed at you or your institution. But I believe that they are extremely useful if one genuinely wants to improve and do well.
In previous weeks, we asked: What is wrong with our healthcare system? How do we take care of the seriously ill? Most of the responses pinpointed problems that occurred in hospitals but could also be referred to an inefficient healthcare system. This week, we are concentrating entirely on hospitals themselves and experiences within their four walls. Both public and private. No sacred cows (if you get what I mean)!
Are our hospitals clean or are they dirty? What about the registration process? How long did it take you, or your family member, or friend to be attended to by a doctor? The nurses and how they treated you or your loved one. The doctors? How was your room? The beddings? Your experience at the laboratory, at the pharmacy, at the X-ray department, at the Physio department? How did you get your drugs? At the end of your admission or clinic visit, did you feel good about your experience in the hospital? What was done well and what went wrong?
In short, did the hospital meet your needs both in terms of quality of clinical care and service delivery? What can we do to make things better?
On the flip side, let us also hear about the good things. It is not all doom and gloom out there. There are some hospitals that are doing their very best for their patients. There are doctors and nurses who are dedicated and who care and are providing excellent care even under difficult conditions. They need to be recognized and applauded. Was there a doctor who did his best for you? The nurse who went the extra mile? A hospital or clinic?
For the healthcare professionals on this blog, I have three questions:
- What do you think of grading all hospitals in Ghana? By grading I mean hospitals and clinics should be categorized into different levels (e.g. Level 1, 2, 3 or 4) based on the services and equipment they have. The clinical expertise and staff they have. Do they work 24/7 or not?Do they have emergency services? What clinical services do they cover and what do they not etc. This information should be publicly available (this is the most important part) especially to a patient in an emergency trying to find the right hospital to go to, say in Accra, or Kumasi. I believe that a publicly (and readily) available grading like that would save lives.
- What do you think about recommending autonomy for our healthcare institutions, especially the big ones? In previous comments, Dr. Asare (Disrespect, rudeness and irresponsibility) and K. Ennin (Doctors’ Strike) had hinted of or talked about autonomy for hospitals in order to improve quality, to give the administrators some control over bad physicians and nurses and to improve profitability, so that hospitals can employ their own doctors and improve their services. What kind of autonomy would you envisage?
- What will be your ideal hospital in Ghana? If you had to develop a hospital, de novo, in Ghana what will be your end product?
I suspect that there will be a lot to talk about hospitals. I will not be surprised if we go into next week with “Hospitals in Ghana, Part two!”