Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele has given an update on the recent outbreak of bedbugs at the St. George’s General hospital.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Tuesday at the Ministerial Complex, Minister Steele said that the patients at the Obstetrics Ward which was affected by the bedbugs will be moved to the new Gynecology Ward to help deal with the situation.
He told reporters that vacating of the Obstetrics Ward is the proper way to handle the situation, which became prevalent about a month ago.
According to Minister Steele, the newly refurbished Gynecology ward will be used as the temporary home for patients of the Obstetrics Ward for the time being.
“My instructions in consultation with my Permanent Secretaries, is that we would delay the opening of that ward (Gynecology) ….”, he told reporters.
The minister stated that new furniture and new bedding have been ordered and will be put into that ward.
“…The Obstetric patients at that point in time would be moved over to the new Gyne Ward temporarily so that the entire Obstetrics Ward can be vacated with respect to furniture and fumigated properly to deal with the situation”, he said.
“…In my opinion this is the only way to be sure that the problem is dealt with. In the meantime the staff at the hospital has been isolating sections of the Obstetrics Ward and doing a fumigating cleaning etc while keeping the ward running,” he added.
Minister Steele alluded to a suggestion that was put forward to move the furniture from the Obstetrics Ward to the Gyne Ward but he said that was not the best option in the circumstances.
“In my opinion, I want to be thorough to make sure that as we deal with the problem we deal with it from two points of view: (1) to make sure that it (the bed bugs) is alleviated or dealt with thoroughly without any risk to patients or any risk of contamination and (2) to make sure that we put certain systems in place that we learn from those lessons because bedbug infestation is not something new to our General Hospital or any General Hospital,” he remarked.
The Health Minister attributed the bedbug infestation as a result of a patient coming into the hospital with it.
“There have been insinuations that also it could’ve been introduced in the hospital through some of the donations that we have received. I disagree with that. I don’t think that would be the issue and I wanted to make those statements public because I don’t want to be discrediting any of (those) Grenadians or friends of Grenadians who have been trying to assist us with donating items to us.
“I do believe that it is coming in the personal belongings and beddings of a patient. I have promised you from the beginning of an open policy – where we have faltered, I would be the first to say and as I have said with my previous statement where we have not faltered I would be the first to defend my team.
According to Minister Steele, it appears that the bedbug situation is now under control at the hospital.
“I have received reports that the problem has been dealt with and they haven’t found any new cases or seen anymore bedbugs. However, as you know I am down there on a regular basis and … I have received conflicting reports as well. This is why I will continue to make sure that we go through this thorough procedure of using the new Gyne Ward and evacuating completely the Obstetrics Ward,” he said.