Management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra has informed the general public and other health facilities that it will no longer take referrals due to a shortage of beds at the Surgical medical Emergency Unit of the hospital.
The Public Relations Officer of KBTH, Mustapha Salifu, the move is part of measures to decongest the facility after overcrowding of patients has made it difficult for doctors to work at the SME.
Viral photos making the rounds on social media since Monday has caused outrage among sections of the public with some questioning the environment patients were being treated in.
Patients were seen scattered across hallways, and corridors with others seated in plastic chairs and some lying on the floor to receive treatment.
"You know, this is a 36-bed facility unit but as at yesterday, the patients that we had were in excess of 60. So, which means that we have literally doubled the number of patients that we should have at the SME. So that was why we had patients on chairs and some of them were even outside," Mr. Salifu told Joy FM.
"This morning there was one patient but fortunately the person has been moved in because space was created for him to move. At the moment, we are linking up with other hospitals to inform them not to refer, they can do telephonic consultations, we'll give them a guide on how to deal with those cases except the dire emergencies that they will still speak to us and we will take them.
"We are in the process (of informing them), usually we would want to do this for 48 hours to allow the place to decongest so that we can start receiving but for the dire emergencies that cannot receive help anywhere except here, they can still fall through but they have a way of contacting the emergency so that we deal with that".
According to Mr. Salifu, the situation at the SME has improved today and no patient was being treated outside in the corridors and under the stairwell currently.