Security at a section of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), where a medical intern was robbed three weeks ago, up to Sunday night appeared slack, although management says it has sought to balance tightened vigilance with hassle-free access by patients.
The issue of less than satisfactory security came to the fore after a medical intern was assaulted and robbed of her cellular phone in an area leading to the X-Ray Department on the lower flat of the state-owned health care provider.
Since then, GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer Retired Brigadier, George Lewis said the institution has tightened security at the hospital while being mindful of the need for generally fair access by those seeking medical attention at the publicly accessible facility. “How do you determine who is a patient and who needs assistance compared to somebody who is a bad person? So there is only so much security you can put in without violating the human rights of persons”.
Lewis explained that several security personnel have been re-positioned and a safety advisory has been issued urging staff to be aware of their environment and “particularly they should try to move in twos and threes, not singly”.
Sources said the medical intern was not counselled, but Lewis stressed that she was. “She was interviewed. I spoke to her myself. She was counselled. I personally spoke with her. Her superiors spoke with her and we have been working with her to soften the trauma associated with being robbed,” the CEO said.
A check at about 3 pm Sunday revealed that the female security guard on duty was often on her mobile phone and paid little attention to anyone who was entering the northern section where the Burn Care Unit and the X-Ray department are located. Other guards just south of the pharmacy were also busy on their mobile phones.
At about 11 pm Sunday, no security guard was seen watching the doorway leading the Burn Care Unit. However, inside, a female guard was seen seated in the distance. No one asked the very sparse number of persons the reason for their presence in the area.
Meanwhile, several GPHC guards were seen having a conversation just outside the middle southern gate. It was not clear whether a member of the Guyana Police Force was in the guard hut as the curtains were drawn.