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Story Highlights

  • Child patients of the Bustamante Hospital for Children are benefiting from an improvement in services through a pilot project that is designed to significantly reduce the waiting time at the accident and emergency room.
  • Among the improvement in services are an increase in the number of customer service personnel from six to 11; an increase in reception windows; introduction of a third shift, which has resulted in a 24-hour operation at the hospital; and the introduction of an e-triage system to log, categorise and register patients immediately.
  • Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that a public-private partnership is to be formed with private pharmacies to dispense public drugs. This will be launched on Monday (December 19) in May Pen, Clarendon.

Child patients of the Bustamante Hospital for Children are benefiting from an improvement in services through a pilot project that is designed to significantly reduce the waiting time at the accident and emergency room.

Among the improvement in services are an increase in the number of customer service personnel from six to 11; an increase in reception windows; introduction of a third shift, which has resulted in a 24-hour operation at the hospital; and the introduction of an e-triage system to log, categorise and register patients immediately.

The Reduction in Waiting Time project, which was introduced in April, has also been introduced in six other hospitals across the island at a cost of approximately $350 million.

They are Mandeville Regional, May Pen, Kingston Public, Cornwall Regional, Spanish Town and St. Ann’s Bay hospitals.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the money spent on the project to improve the services and efficiencies was based on a reorganisation of the scarce resources.

“We’ve seen a couple of things with the reorganisation, one of which is the willingness of the staff to engage the process with sincerity of effort and to try new things,” he said, at the official project launch at the hospital in Kingston, on December 15.

Dr. Tufton said that further adjustments to improve the project will become necessary in the future.

So far, patients have been reporting that there is improvement, especially in the direct interface with the administrators.

He said this has been proven through dialogue between the administrators and patients, who are being dealt with immediately upon entry into the hospital.

“A patient’s experience must be shortened as best as possible in the initial assessment of their current state, so you direct them to where they are most appropriately dealt with,” the Minister said.

Dr. Tufton informed that based on statistics, up to 70 per cent of patients in the accident and emergency room should not be there.

“Approximately 40 per cent of patients entering accident and emergency rightfully should have gone to a health centre or clinic, and… because of the efficiency of the triage system, were, in fact, redirected or downgraded to a non-emergency situation, and that was appropriately explained,” said Dr. Tufton.

The Minister noted that the improvements at the hospitals were predicated on a time and motion study conducted in March.

The study essentially assesses employee productivity to eliminate redundancies or wasteful motion.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that a public-private partnership is to be formed with private pharmacies to dispense public drugs. This will be launched on Monday (December 19) in May Pen, Clarendon.

“What you will see is private pharmacies dispensing free drugs. It gives the patient an option, so that person doesn’t have to go to the Drug Serv window. They can actually go to their community pharmacy and access the same drug,” he said.