The Ministry of Health’s Compassionate Care Programme was launched at the Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre (Type 5) in Montego Bay, St. James, on February 21.
The initiative seeks to enhance customer service experience for patients, which should make them more comfortable when they visit the centre.
Speaking at the launch, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the compassionate care programme at public healthcare facilities is being institutionalised in a manner that will facilitate continuous training of healthcare workers and the assessment and auditing of the programme.
“We have to understand, appreciate and emphasise more personal interaction with the patients in our healthcare services, and so the training and retraining and consistent training is the focus,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton said it is a core mandate of public health professionals to provide empathetic service delivery in the execution of their duties, and called for consistency in the approach.
“Those who have made the commitment are the 13,000-plus healthcare workers who serve in the public health system. More often than not, our core mandate is not just to give information that is critical at the primary level as part of the prevention method, but it is to provide comfort; it is to give advice and demonstrate empathy; and it is to provide psychological therapeutic support when people are in their lowest moments,” the Minister noted.
Dr. Tufton argued that compassion should be used as a lever for improving the performance of Jamaica’s healthcare system, adding that healing requires more than the treatment of diseases or injuries.
In that regard, the Minister underscored the need for healthcare professionals to develop a culture of compassion, which he said needs to be imbedded in their psyche.
The Compassionate Care Programme comprises several components, including the training of staff in customer service, improvement of basic infrastructure, and boosting voluntarism to aid the delivery of compassionate care.
More than 60 healthcare workers at the Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre have been trained in customer service under the care programme.
The aesthetic of the facility has also been improved with the accident and emergency area painted in vibrant colours, and has vital messages for users of the facility.