Two patients attending the Marsh Harbour Government Clinic last week Tuesday said that they were told that only emergency patients would be dealt with. The patients were instructed to return to the clinic the following day.
When contacted, Valerie Pratt, administrative officer of the Department of Health, who is stationed at the Marsh Harbour Government Clinic, denied patients’ claims of being turned away for medical care.
“In the absence of any information, I will say that no one is turned away from the clinic without being assessed by medical personnel. Our clinic hours are from 9 p.m.- 5 p.m., and after that we are available for on call/emergencies to which a medical person will assess the need,” Pratt explained.
However, a significant number of patients were observed in the waiting room area the following day compared to those seen in the clinic on the previous day indicating that doctors were back to assisting “regular” patients.
Patients speculated that they may have been turned away because the clinic is short-staffed. Last month, nurses voiced their concerns citing health and safety issues with improper lighting, a leaking air condition unit, sewer problems and insufficient staff in addition to mold.
Following the sick out by nurses last month, a number of nurses are still reporting illnesses and symptoms related to respiratory infections from the prevalence of mold in their work environment at the clinic. In January, it was reported that two employees were advised “not to come within 10 feet of the building” because of the mold.
According to one source, no work has taken place to improve the condition at the clinic in terms of safety or health hazards, but they remain hopeful regarding recent activity at the Abaco Community Health Care Facility (mini hospital) that help is on the way.