The La General Hospital was closed down last Sunday to pave way for its redevelopment into a modern health institution.
The redevelopment of the hospital had become necessary due to the dilapidated nature of existing facilities which made it unsafe for both staff and patients.
With the shutdown, patients can access healthcare services at the Police Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, LEKMA Hospital at Teshie, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge Hospital) and the Stadium Clinic, among others.
The government funded hospital redevelopment is estimated to cost $63 million and is schedule to be completed in 24 months.
When works are fully finished, the hospital will have an ultra modern Out Patients Department (OPD) and a well equipped emergency unit and public health department.
It will in addition have a surgical block with four fully equipped theatres and a maternity unit, in-patient wards for both male and female, medical and surgical wards as well as a children’s ward and a fully installed physiotherapy department, among others.
The facility which was formerly known as the La Polyclinic was established in the early 60’s and had for years provided the general public, especially those in La, Osu, Teshie, Nungua and its surrounding areas with their healthcare needs.
Thousands of people from all walks of life relied on the hospital for primary health care and thus rendered the facility stretching beyond its capacity.
Among amenities the hospital had before its closure were a five-bedroom emergency unit, an incinerator, a waste management facility, an Out-Patients Department (OPD) and males and female wards.
The hospital had suffered extensive damage due to pressure as can be seen in the numerous cracks in the main hospital block.
Flooding had also been one of the hospital’s biggest challenges in recent times.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Mr Elorm Ametepe, said although the hospital had shut down, the ministry would take over the facility officially on March 15, this year for rehabilitation works to commence.
He said staff at the hospital had been posted to other hospitals temporarily and would be called back after the redevelopment of the hospital was completed.
Following a directive by the Ministry of Health and the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate for the hospital to be evacuated to pave the way for construction works, authorities at the hospital had planned cessation of its services gradually, the final of which occurred last Sunday.
The Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and Surgical Departments stopped receiving patients for surgery from February 18, this year,while patients already on admission were transferred to other hospitals.
The OPD of the hospital also stopped admissions and patients on emergency admission were stabilised and transferred to other hospitals.
The hospital had since February 24 this year, referred all of its remaining in-patients to other medical facilities and stopped night duties at its OPD, surgery, medical and paediatric departments.
Some residents and patients have meanwhile expressed misgivings about the closure of the hospital, which, they say, has been a place where they could easily access health care.
A trader, Ms Adoley Addo, said “it’s not easy going to Korle-Bu for treatment because of the large number of people who go there and so La General Hospital has always been very convenient for me.”
Another resident, Ms Amerley Agoe, was concerned with demolition of the morgue which she said would trigger the release of rats and other rodents into their homes. She has, therefore, appealed to the municipal authority to endeavour to spray the site of the morgue and its surroundings before demolishing it.
A taxi driver, Nii Osa Mensah, who has worked close to the hospital for many years, said he would have it difficult staying in business.