− regional authorities failed to notify MoHThe Leonora Cottage Hospital, on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) is battling a drug shortage, however;The Leonora Cottage Hospitalregional officials have failed to notify the Public Health Ministry of the issue.The health institution has been without much needed medication for several months, sources at the facility told Guyana Times.This publication was told that doctors have to issue prescriptions to patients so that they can purchase medication which would normally be issued by the hospital’s pharmacy. It was indicated that the hospital is out of basic medications, such as Panadol and antibiotics.Earlier this year, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Chairman Julius Faerber voiced concerns over the drug shortage in the region. He related that similar issues are plaguing the West Demerara Regional Hospital and health centres across the region. However, when questioned about the issue as it relates to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, Regional Executive Officer (REO) Dennis Jaikarran denied having any knowledge of the issue.Meanwhile, Dr George Norton on Wednesday alleged that regional officials failed to notify him of the shortage that is plaguing the Hospital.“I just had a meeting with my Permanent Secretary with the regional authorities; that is the Chairman, the REO and the Regional Health Officer (RHO) of Region Three, and in that meeting I made it known in no uncertain terms that I am not impressed with what is taking place on the regional level. While they have been saying to me that there is no shortage… on the ground, that might not be the case,” he related.The Minister said he was not prepared to deny the claims that there was a drug shortage at the medical facility at Leonora, since similar situations exist across the country.“I might not have had reason to doubt the regional authorities or my officers, but I am beginning to do so because of the frequency which this is being said. There must be some truth in what they are saying in terms of the shortage of drugs because it seems not to be isolated cases,” Dr Norton related.Earlier this week, Norton indicated that the change in the procurement system is probably the likely cause for the drug shortages being experienced at certain public health facilities across Guyana.Meanwhile, addressing the issue of patients having to purchase medication, Dr Norton explained that it is not the duty of the patient to procure the necessary medication, but rather, the responsibility of the Hospital administrator.“What would be interesting, and this has been happening in some hospitals… rather than giving the patients the prescription, if the doctor should speak to whoever is in charge of that institution, then that institution should be responsible for getting that medication rather than the patient. There should be no reason why a patient should have a prescription. If you take that prescription, and take it to the Hospital Administrator, then the Hospital Administrator would have to get it. They would be forced to go and get it for the patient,” the Minister stated.He vowed that he would be investigating the matter and putting measures in place to combat the issue.