By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: WEDNESDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2015: Registered nurses now have the upper hand in deciding if a patient should see a doctor when the outpatient unit closes at 10.00pm every night.
This was the explanation given by the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Services, Leota Laki Sio in an interview today.
He explained that the outpatient unit does close at 10.00pm, but the emergency unit operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
Leota was responding to complaints from the public who were stranded at the hospital Monday and Tuesdays night when the unit closed before they could see a doctor.
He said for any patient that comes in after 10.00pm, the “registered nurse on duty has the discretion if that patient should see a doctor or not at the emergency unit.”
“This is after the nurse assessed the seriousness of whatever ailment the patient is in for,” said Leota.
He used figures 01- 05 to illustrate the basis of the registered nurse’s discretion.
Number 01 – critically serious. Number 02 – very serious, Number 03- serious, Number 04 and 05 – not serious.
If number 01 to 03 comes in after 10.00pm, they will see a doctor at the emergency unit, but if number 04 and 05 arrives at that time, then the registered nurse on duty will determine the seriousness of their cases before making her decision.
“If she is not certain then the case is referred to the emergency unit,” said Leota.
Leota also said that if Number 04 and 05 insist on seeing a doctor, then “they would have to wait for a while until a doctor is available from the emergency unit.
Leota has great faith in the competence of the registered nurses. “They (registered nurses) have guidelines to work by,” said Leota.
He also said NHS has improved their customer service to the public.
Several people Talamua spoke to are not happy with the new policy.
“It is a stupid policy,” said the Member of Parliament for Siumu, Tu’u’u Anasi’i Leota.
MP for Gaga’emauga No. 02. Levaopolo Talatonu said the new policy is another slap in the face of the people.
“The hospital looks beautiful but the service is so bad,” said Levaopolo.
During Parliament session last month, the Minister for Health, Tuitama Talalelei Tuitama said, both the Outpatient and Emergency Units will operate 24 hours 7 days a week.
NHS’s new policy contradicts what the Minister told parliament and the country who were listening in to the proceedings of parliament.