Gulu Hospital to Regulate Number of Patient Caregivers

Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is mooting plans to restrict the number of patient caregivers at the facility in a move aimed at lowering costs of utility bills.

According to hospital officials, unregulated numbers of patient caregivers spending days at the inpatient wards have over the years seen the hospital spending much more money on electricity and water bills.

James Ojwang, the acting Principal Hospital Administrator says that restricting the number of patient caregivers will save the facility from unnecessary spending on utility bills.

For instance, quarterly, the facility spends approximately 60 million shillings on paying electricity bills and another 50 million shillings on water bills. He says the bills are huge and would have been much lower if only one caregiver instead of two or more spend time at the hospital with their patients.

According to statistics from the Hospital, daily, between 300 to 350 patients are admitted to the various inpatient wards for medical treatment while some 600 to 700 patients visit the outpatient clinics.

Ojwang says on this background, the hospital accommodates about 1,000 patients including caregivers on a daily basis who depend utilize electricity and water on a daily.

He says whereas the hospital seeks to regulate the numbers to reduce its utility costs, it is also economically wise for relatives or friends of patients to have just one to save their budget and do other productive work.

Ojwang called on families to voluntarily reduce the number of caregivers before the Hospital takes up decisions on sending some out.

The regional health facility receives patients from all over the Acholi Sub-region, parts of West Nile, and South Sudan. However recently, officials at the facility noted that the staff shortage had created a gap in service delivery.

Uganda Radio Network established that the hospital has a staff shortage of about 30 percent majorly for specialist doctors.

Ojwang noted that although they are relying on specialist and consultant doctors from Gulu University, there is a need to have their permanent staff arguing that the Health Ministry has since been alerted.

Christopher Opiyo Ateker, the Gulu LCV Chairperson, says whereas it’s a good move the decision shouldn’t be undertaken until the respective stakeholders have been briefed.

“We want to understand exactly how the caregivers are contributing to the huge utility bills at the hospital. It’s not common that the hospital starts to blame caretakers or people visiting the hospital for its high costs of utility,” says Ateker

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