Preparedness of the Medical Corps of the Ghana Police Service toward Emergency Management and Care: An Assessment of the Emergency Unit of the Ghana Police Hospital, Accra

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Ghana needs realistic national hospitals and medical emergency response programmes designed on the principle of equitable distribution of appropriate equipment, supplies and well trained emergency medical personnel. The Ghana Police Hospital was established in 1976 with the core aim of providing health care services for police personnel and their dependants (-spouses and children/wards below 18 years), especially within the national capital and its environs. It however provides health care services for members of the general public. The accident and emergency unit of the Police Hospital like other units within the Accra metropolis operates 24/7. Coupled with frequent referral of cases to other hospitals from the unit of which some were minor, personnel of the unit easily became overwhelmed during surge situations as was observed. Concerns generated amongst the public included whether or not the medical corps of the Ghana Police Service was prepared towards management and care of emergency cases. This research assessed the preparedness of the medical corps of Ghana Police Service toward emergency services, through an audit of the emergency unit of the Ghana Police Hospital, Accra. A cross-sectional study design was used with quantitative methods employed to describe the research variables. Multi-stage sampling techniques used included simple random sampling without replacement and purposive sampling, at various stages to select eighty (80) respondents from the target population of One hundred (100) emergency health personnel at the A&E unit of the Ghana Police Hospital, Accra. Self-administered questionnaires, interfaced with unstructured interviews were used to collect data from the respondents between October and December, 2013. SPSS software was used for the data analysis. Out of the seventy-seven (77) received responses, nurses were the majority (38.9%), followed by medical officers (16.9%). The most occurring age group was between 30years and 39years (58.4%). All respondents had attained some level of education with tertiary education the majority (64.9%). There existed some form of emergency systemsand/or protocols at the police hospital, but were not in accordance with the Ministry of Health, Ghana policy document and guidelines on emergency medicine. Majority (74%) of the respondents had no training on emergency management and care and no refresher trainings on emergency medicine or related courses were ever organised for personnel working at the emergency unit of the hospital (81.8%). Referrals of all kind were received at the emergency unit of the hospital, however some of these referred cases were turned away due to non-availability of space (beds) and shortage of skilled personnel (94.4%). There was non-adherence to a standard form of triage at the emergency unit (90.7%). Triaging of cases were done by both doctors and nurses, even though majority had no basic knowledge on triaging hence could not appropriately triage cases (90.7%). On the over-all, it was observed that, the medical corps of the Ghana Police Services was ill-prepared toward emergency services with specific reference to skilled health personnel, equipment, infrastructure and medical supplies. It was recommended that, more standard ambulances were added to the fleet in the Ghana Police Hospital through the assistance of Ministry of Health, Ghana. The police administration through the Government (Interior Ministry) allocated funds for the establishment of an ultramodern emergency unit, which should encompass the training of personnel on emergency medicine, the provision of needed medical equipment and improvement in the infrastructure to ensure a conducive environment for effective work.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health (Health Education and Promotion).