Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH) in Francistown is battling with overcrowding of patients, which is seriously negating the hospital’s ability to deliver efficient services, says the hospital’s assistant superintendent, Dr Lonel Chansa, during open day celebrations last week.
He said that although the hospital bed capacity was increased from 374 to 540 beds since its establishment in 1989, it has become apparent that this capacity is not adequate. He said that the increase in bed capacity did not come about with increased bed space which has resulted to overcrowding.
“This increase in bed capacity did not come about with increased space, which resulted in squeezing additional beds in existing space. Despite this initiative, the hospital remains overcrowded and this is a serious concern,” he said.
He, however, remained hopeful that the opening of more hospitals in the country will relieve Nyangabgwe of the current congestion and overcrowding.
One of the challenges he raised is that although Nyangabwe Referral Hospital was initially built as a referral hospital, an increasing number of patients do not want to use the services of the local clinics where they can be later referred to the hospital, if there is need, after consultation.
“Although referred patients should be the only ones accessing services in Nyangabgwe Hospital, the reality is the opposite as some patients come to the hospital without first going to the local clinics for consultations, which then results in more congestion, especially in the Accident and Emergency Department,” he added.
He said that the service in the Accident and Emergency department is based on triage system whereby patients are attended according to the seriousness of their conditions and treated noting that the influx of such patients into the hospital then impacts on the services offered by that department. He also raised concerns of shortage of staff such as doctors and nurses.
“Shortage of transport is also one of the challenges that we are facing when there is need to transport patients and execution of other hospital services. Transport is not readily available and this delays referral of patients,” he concluded.