The National Ambulance Service has asked patients who are not in critical condition to secure a bed at hospitals before they place a call to the Service to transport them.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Ambulance Service, Simon Yusif Kawula, this is to ensure that the patient is not stranded over lack of bed at the hospitals they are being transported to.
“With non-emergency cases for instance when you have your relative at the Ridge Hospital and has been referred to Korle Bu, we’ll make sure that you the patient’s relative has done the necessary arrangement to be sure that when you take your sick relative to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital you’ll get a bed. Once you secure the bed then we move but if you don’t get the bed we’ll not come and pick your sick relative since doing so will cause the patient to be stuck in the ambulance.
“Sometimes, the nurses in the hospital the patient has been admitted help with the necessary arrangement with the receiving hospital (referral hospital) to find a bed. Most of the time it is successful. But if that arrangement is not done it is difficult for us to move in”, Simon Yusif Kawula stated in an interview.
He also bemoaned the fact that some hospitals do not cooperate with the Service in handling emergency cases.
“Many hospitals don’t cooperate with us in some cases. Recently we picked a patient at Taifa to a certain hospital. We went to five different hospitals in Accra and they did not accept the case because they said they didn’t know any relatives of the patient.
“It took our Operations Director to personally pay for the folder of the patient before the patient was admitted. Sometimes we pick a patient who’s in critical condition at the wayside because that person is a Ghanaian and pays tax hence we can’t leave anybody to die. But when we take such cases to the hospital then it becomes our burden to find a place to lay the patient,”
Simon Yusif Kawula further called for effective collaboration between the Ghana Health Service, Mission Hospitals, and the National Ambulance Service to ensure that persons in critical condition are given urgent attention.
“I say this because sometimes we get to the hospital and we’re told that there’s no bed, the person has no relative around so will not be admitted then the responsibility becomes ours but we also don’t have a budget to take care of such people. A patient put on oxygen in an ambulance for a long time is a waste of resource and needs to be offloaded to a hospital.”