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Story Highlights

  • The Government is putting measures in place to reduce the waiting time of patients at the nation’s public health facilities.
  • Minister Tufton said the clinics have been adequately resourced to extend opening hours to 10:00 pm, and are equipped to provide additional diagnostic and pharmacy services to facilitate persons who have been redirected to a primary-care setting.
  • He informed that the Government is also looking to review the use of operating theatres in order to put measures in place to reduce the waiting time for surgeries.

The Government is putting measures in place to reduce the waiting time of patients at the nation’s public health facilities.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, announced June 29,  that a $350-million project will be piloted at eight hospitals and six major health centres, which will cut the time it takes for a patient to see a doctor, starting with the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.

Dr. Tufton, who was making his Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives, said the pilot will involve improving customer service and assessment and redirecting non-emergency cases to the closest designated primary-care health centre.

The hospitals involved in the pilot are Cornwall Regional, St. James; Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland; St. Ann’s Bay Regional, St. Ann; Kingston Public; Spanish Town, St. Catherine; Mandeville Regional, Manchester;  May Pen, Clarendon and the Bustamante Hospital for Children, St. Andrew.

The designated health centres are Mount Salem in St. James; St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann; Comprehensive and Glen Vincent in Kingston; St. Jago Park, St. Catherine; Mandeville in Manchester; and May Pen in Clarendon.

Minister Tufton said the clinics have been adequately resourced to extend opening hours to 10:00 pm, and are equipped to provide additional diagnostic and pharmacy services to facilitate persons who have been redirected to a primary-care setting.

“We will be carefully monitoring this intervention to determine its success, with the hope of extending to all hospitals,” he said.

The intervention, the Minister told the House, follows time and motion studies conducted over the past two months at A&E units in a number of hospitals, which showed that the majority of patients waited more than one hour to be assessed or triaged, with some waiting in excess of three hours.

He informed that the Government is also looking to review the use of operating theatres in order to put measures in place to reduce the waiting time for surgeries.

Dr. Tufton said the number of hours operating theatres are being used will be assessed, as well as the state of repairs and equipment needed, and the availability of relevant staff, with the aim of maximising resources and improving efficiency.