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UG Medical Centre Opens for Referrals Only

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After a long wait and several agitations by a cross section of the public, the University Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) commenced operations last Friday.

This decision by government comes after persistent outrage over the abandonment of the 600-bed capacity medical centre.

Nonetheless, management has stated categorically, that the facility would be used only for referral cases.

According to the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) Dr.  Anaafi Asamoah Baah, patients cannot directly walk in to the centre to receive treatment.

“This is not an ordinary hospital. In fact, this is meant to be the highest referral centre in the country. So, the teaching hospitals are even expected to refer cases to this facility. So, it is important that this facility is not swamped with conditions that can be managed in other facilities,” he said while addressing the media at the opening.

He added that the primary role of the centre is to provide training and to provide specialist services.

According to Dr. Baah services, that would be rendered included, Pediatrics, Dermatology, Laboratory services, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Gynecology, Pre-Surgery and Electromyogram (EMG) adding that “not all services will be open up for the public but we will open other services up as time goes on.”

Manpower

The IMC indicates that the facility as it stands was beginning operations with about 20 staff who were ready to attend to patients.

According to the Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the centre, Dr Darius Osei, the facility does not have the appropriate number of health professionals needed to run the entire operations of the hospital.

He said, “we are looking at specialists of all forms―be it private hospitals or the government. We have some few that are ready to work with us straight and others who need to properly separate themselves from their employers.”

Dr. Osei said the centre had receive clearance for 800 staff but explained that it would not be prudent to pool in all 800 until the facility was fully ready and when patients are ready to be treated.

Comfort services

The IMC further revealed that various comfort services were available for very important personalities who had “good money.”

“We are expecting to attract patients not just from Ghana but from also from outside Ghana which requires we provide excellent hotel services, Dr Baah stated.

The centre is expected to serve as a Centre for medical tourism for those in need of medical services within the sub-region and beyond for super tertiary care and specialties.

The second phase of the facility which received a €47m approval from parliament within the week would be completed in 18 months with an extra six months to make it operational.

The facility has about eight huge blocks, which house an emergency centre, an outpatient and administration block, women and children’s centre, a medical training and simulation centre, among others.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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