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Salmaniya Medical Complex ... shortage of staff affecting treatment

Plea to increase staff at Bahrain’s main hospital

MANAMA, July 28, 2015

A shortage of staff at Bahrain’s main hospital during weekends and public holidays is causing unnecessary suffering to sickle cell anaemia patients, an activist has claimed.

Bahrain Society for Sickle Cell Anaemia Patient Care president Zakreya Al Kadhem said that sickle cell sufferers could be left waiting for hours in distress at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) due to a lack of doctors and nurses, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

“The number of sickle cell patients visiting SMC facilities has always stood at around 600 during long weekends and public holidays,” he said.

“But doctors and nurses take their holidays during this time and the ministry does not have the provision to cover this shortage.”

The GDN reported last week that 585 patients suffering from sickle cell anaemia had been treated at SMC’s Hereditary Blood Disorder Centre over the three-day Eid Al Fitr holiday.

There were 165 sickle cell patients on the first day of Eid, 195 on Saturday and 201 on Sunday.

“During long weekends and holidays, patient discharge drops by 75 per cent, as there are no doctors to discharge or admit them,” said Al Kadhem.

“This also leads to many sickle cell patients, who are often in pain and given only temporary medication, sent back home because there are no beds.

“But these patients are still in pain, so they come back again the next day, which all adds to the number of patients who visit SMC.”

The staff shortage needs to be addressed and patients must not be denied care because of a small minority who might abuse their pain medication, Al Kadhem said.

“We acknowledge that there are abusers of the system, who often make a fuss in hospital demanding pain medicines,” he said.

“But this is less than one per cent of the 5,000 patients registered at SMC. Denying attention to the remaining majority because of this small minority is not justified.”

The society official also pointed out that the effect of a staff shortage at the hospital was not limited to sickle cell patients.

The Health Ministry did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by the GDN.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, nine-year -old Bahraini Hussain Alfatah, from Al Markh, became the 15th sickle cell sufferer to die so far this year following five months of treatment in Singapore at the Health Ministry’s expense.

“He underwent bone marrow transplant, but developed complications, contracted pneumonia, slipped into a coma and died,” said Al Kadhem.

Hussain’s death follows that of Bahraini Ali Isa Al Haddad, who died in India on Friday, after being sent there by the ministry for treatment.

Forty-six sickle cell patients died last year, compared with 33 in 2013 and 47 in 2012. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | weekend | Staff | Salmaniya | Shortage | Holiday | Public |

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