Dispensary closes at lunch

2011-04-25 00:00

PATIENTS at Northdale Hospital’s pharmacy section were left stranded after staff at the unit allegedly closed the door at 1:30 pm on Thursday, ahead of the long weekend.

The Witness discovered only two out of the five dispensing hatches were opened.

Patients were turned away, some without their medication, with staff at the pharmacy telling them to come back on Tuesday.

Patient Sandra Reddiar has a heart condition, but she also could not get her chronic medication.

“I arrived here very early and there were only two dispensing windows opened. At lunch these people told us that they were closing and that we should come back on Tuesday. All my medication is finished and I can’t wait until Tuesday. What if I don’t survive until then?

“They are talking about a circular from the premier that says they must close early for the holiday, what about our ill health? This is an injustice to the poor and deprived,” said Reddiar.

A nurse who asked not to be named said it was difficult for them to deal with patients without medication, especially those with chronic conditions.

“There are people who can’t survive without medication such as insulin, warfarin, an anticoagulant used to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Some need didanosine, a drug used on HIV positive patients while others needed a variety of other medicines.

“When the pharmacy says it’s closed there’s no way that we at OPD can help these people, and to make them wait until Tuesday is ridiculous. It feels bad when you can’t help them because they put their hopes in us,” said the nurse.

A man who identified himself as the pharmacy manager confirmed that there was a circular from the premier and that people were rushing home because of that. When we asked what people who were on chronic medication should do, he said: “He is your premier too so go ask him what is to happen to patients who need medication. I’ve got to go inside and do what I can to help. It is unfortunate that I don’t get the needed co-operation, but the job has to be done,” he said.

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon confirmed that the circular has been released, but said it did not mean that patients should be chased away.

“The circular is there, but it was intended mainly for the administration staff. Health services are constitutionally guaranteed and therefore people must not be unreasonable and chase patients away.

The department, even the premier, didn’t mean that patients with chronic illnesses should be chased away, their needs are important,” said Maxon.

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