Experts weigh in on Al-Bashir Hospital’s staffing shortage

مستشفى البشير-222 (13)
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Al-Bashir Public Hospital is woefully underfunded and understaffed according to serving and former public health experts.اضافة اعلان

Figures published Wednesday by Al-Ghad News show a drastic shortage of medical staff at the hospital.

The former director of the hospital, Dr Abdul-Manea Al-Sulaimat, who resigned on Monday, told Jordan News that the hospital serves a population of 4.5 million people, “and the hospital is not able to handle these numbers. This is a great challenge.”

A Ministry of Health study concurs with the assessment that Al-Bashir is exceptionally understaffed relative to the population it serves. Sulaimat, citing the study, said that the hospital needs an additional 650 nurses, adding that it currently employs 1,400 nurses. Al-Ghad reported that there are 150 nurses in Al-Bashir’s ICU.

The former director explained that both the hospital’s infrastructure and equipment is sufficient, but that there is a critical need for medical technicians. He added that doctors may see as many as “150 to 200 patients a day.”

Former minister of health Mamdouh Al-Abbadi contended that the underlying problem is the underfunding of the Health Ministry, and the need to appoint directors with in-depth management experience.

The ministry’s budget shrank 0.26 percent in the last three years.

The ministry’s budget was JD615 million in 2019, JD607 million in 2020, and JD599 million in 2021. Abbadi explained that this happened despite the population growing by 3 percent, new staff being hired, and the prices of medicine and medical equipment increasing.

“Today, the (ministry’s) budget needs a 10 –15 percent increase,” he stressed, attributing the decline in the quality of medical services to insufficient funding.

Abbadi underlined that the health-care centers within the Al-Bashir complex will not alleviate the burden on the hospital, but rather increase the number of patients the hospital receives.

The report

Al-Ghad’s reporting cites insufficient staffing across the entire hospital. Al-Bashir Hospital’s cardiology department employs four doctors, two of whom are independent contractors. The hospital employs three independent cardiac surgeons, “of which only one has started working,” according to Al-Ghad.

There are four doctors working in neurosurgery, of which two are independent contractors, and three working in gastroenterology, one of whom is a contractor.

The hardest-hit department is anesthesiology, according to Al-Ghad, which requires an additional 15 doctors. Three anesthesiologists currently work in the ICU.

Al-Bashir entirely lacks a respiratory technician, Al-Ghad’s report stated, adding that the hospital requires an additional 25 (not strictly respiratory) medical technicians.

According to figures, in June of this year, the hospital’s clinics served 46,563 patients, and its emergency room treated 62,100 patients, of which 7,704 were admitted.

Furthermore, the hospital performed 2,415 surgeries and delivered 1,051 children.

In July, Al-Bashir’s clinics treated 61,622 patients, and its emergency room treated 64,166 patients, of which 7,388 were admitted.

Additionally, 2,168 surgeries were performed and 1,110 children were delivered.

‘The need to take action’

“I did what I thought was right,” Sulaimat said about his resignation. “I addressed the ministry formally, but I got no response.”

A doctor at Al-Bashir Hospital, who spoke to Jordan News on condition of anonymity, said: “The director’s resignation shows his rejection of the difficult reality that doctors face at the hospital. We hope (his) resignation will highlight the need to take action to improve the situation.”

The recently appointed director of Al-Bashir Hospital, Dr. Ali Al-Abdallat told Jordan News that each department’s needs will be assessed.

“I hope that the ministry will cooperate with us,” he said. “Yesterday, we held a meeting with the managers and officials at Al-Bashir Hospital to hear their demands, which we will submit to the ministry.”

Jordan News contacted the Ministry of Health, who confirmed that they will answer our questions soon.

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