JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Despite the need for cost efficiency in the health sector, there must be consultations with the critical stakeholders before coming to a particular position.
  • The talks were held against the background of the withholding by the regional authority, of a percentage of overtime payments to some categories of staff last week.
  • The meeting was successful in reaching an understanding with the health professionals, who took industrial action over the non-payment of their allowances.

Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said that despite the need for cost efficiency in the health sector, there must be consultations with the critical stakeholders before coming to a particular position.

He made the comment as he addressed journalists on Friday, July 4, following a marathon meeting with the leadership of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and health professional groups, at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James.

The talks were held against the background of the withholding by the regional authority, of a percentage of overtime payments to some categories of staff last week.

Dr. Ferguson said that the meeting was successful in reaching an understanding with the health professionals, who took industrial action over the non-payment of their allowances.

He said he had apologised for the manner in which the situation was handled by the WRHA.

“Despite the good intentions of the board, I am of the view that we did not take the necessary time to consult with the critical groups…. the challenge we have (with) 84 health centres, four hospitals, a population of 472,000 within this region, when you look at the peculiarities of each of these parishes, it is clear that we have to get it right  in how we plan … that is why it is important for us to continue this conversation ,” Dr. Ferguson stated.

The boards of the island’s four regional health authorities are meeting on July 5 at Cornwall Regional Hospital for further discourse as it relates to cost efficiency.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ferguson said that coming out of yesterday’s talks, some worthwhile recommendations were made “in relation to how we can create some revenue streams that will be useful going forward.”

Among the proposals to which that Government will be giving further consideration are: providing private beds; strengthening the collection of health insurance; and environmental healthcare.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the primary health care infrastructure, Hon. Luther Buchanan, also participated in the meeting.