JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The hospital copped the prestigious Prime Minister’s Trophy for the ‘Best Customer Service Entity
  • The customer service team have been engaged in ongoing and consistent training opportunities

The Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St. James, has recently been recognized for its excellent customer service, which has left its staff beaming with pride.

The hospital copped the prestigious Prime Minister’s Trophy for the ‘Best Customer Service Entity – Single Location’ at an awards ceremony for the Public Sector Customer Service Competition 2012/2013 held on July 11 in Kingston, and in the process received a plaque of recognition and cash prize of $40,000.

It was one of two overall winning entities singled out for the award, which is given to entities that customers say, have most succeeded in maintaining or surpassing stated service standards; are most responsive to customer feedback; treat customers with optimum levels of respect and courtesy; and generally demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the principles of excellent customer service.

Chief Executive Officer, Cornwall Regional Hospital, Anthony Smikle, who accepted the award on behalf of the hospital, attributes the overall success of the hospital to team effort that also includes support from local businesses.

“We employ a team effort and we seek to motivate members of the team because it’s a tough job in the environment that we operate in.  The commitment from team members has been tremendous and we do get a lot of support from the general community of Montego Bay businesses.  The support has also been tremendous from the Ministry of Health through the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and based on all these inputs, we think it is a well deserved award,” Mr. Smikle tells JIS News.

He says that the hospital has a fully functional Customer Service Department, with representatives operating on each ward of the institution at crucial points of entry.

“We have sought to place these persons at strategic points so that we can capture information and be able to send this on to the correct or relevant departments …The business of health (visits) can be happy as well as sad at times, so patients need that type of assurance and guidance most times,” the CEO points out.

Ongoing customer service training

Acting Senior Hospital Administrator, Keriesa Bell-Cummings, informs that members of the customer service team have been engaged in ongoing and consistent training opportunities which have resulted in significant enhancement in service delivery.

“Over the many years, Cornwall Regional Hospital has embarked on having continuous customer service training which goes very wide, from top management down to clerical officers and even to the porters, covering the many cross sections in the hospital. Customer service is therefore very important to us,” Mrs. Bell-Cummings points out.

She adds that the team values feedback from customers/clients, which helps in understanding how best to provide services and fill gaps in service offerings where necessary.

“We do have a complaints mechanism, whereby persons know how to lodge their complaints whenever there is a problem … whenever there are ‘bad’ complaints, we take such bad and turn them into good,” Mrs. Bell-Cummings informs.

On the Paediatrics Ward, children are provided with teachers to ensure that they do not fall behind in their school work while in the hospital.  Mrs. Bell-Cummings informs that the hospital has partnered with the Sandals We Care Foundation, which has assisted in providing resources for this programme.

Learning on the Paediatrics Ward

“The Sandals We Care Foundation has various agencies that provide funding and we have been able to decorate and refurbish an area on the eighth floor for the children called ‘The play room’.  We have placed a trained teacher there, who gives them work to do and even though they are out of school and hospitalized for whatever reason, they are not away from learning, they still are engaged in learning.  This area has been one of our major service improvements for the children that we serve,” Mrs. Bell-Cummings says.

Other areas where significant levels of service improvements have been made include the ‘Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC)’ which is an extension of the Accident and Emergency Department and the Chemotherapy Suite, which was renovated into a ‘posh and comfortable’ setting for cancer patients.

“We also have patient care representatives who are on the ground. They work in the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) and they also cover the ward areas. Whenever we have new admissions, patients are visited within two days just to find out how the service is going, if they were having any challenges and if they needed any assistance.  This is also another of the key areas of improvement,” she says.

Mrs. Bell-Cummings notes that while the hospital operates in tight economic environment, it tries to get “all the little things right” to ensure good quality customer care.

Medical Consultant and Head of the Accident and Emergency Department, Dr. Dena Kirnon, agrees and is also hailing the hospital’s team for its outstanding work.

“We are pleasantly surprised that our hard work is being recognized as we make the best efforts that we can to service our patients to the best of our ability,” she says.

“As an emergency department, this is true anywhere in the world, we are under scrutiny all day, every day, 24 hours a day, 365 days (per year), that is the nature of emergency medicine, because the doors never close. As such we have an ongoing process whereby we attempt to look at the services, look at any challenges that the patients might have with the service and address them to the best of our ability,” the Medical Consultant observes.

The Public Sector Customer Service Competition is held every two years and after getting their first sweet taste of victory, the team at the Cornwall Regional Hospital has already started working towards taking home the next top award.