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With an increase in the number of patients accessing medical care at health facilities, strategic measures to improve patient access and care have been implemented at health care facilities in the North East Region.

Miss Suzette Morris, Regional Director of the North-East Regional Health Authority, (NERHA) indicated that, "We have been strengthening our internal systems to enhance the ease at which our patients access care at our health facilities. Some recent measures that have been implemented are the Block Appointment System and Staff Recognition Programme. We have also strengthened our Clients Complaint Mechanism."

Over the last six months, the Block Appointment System was introduced at the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, Portland Health Department and St. Ann Health Department in a bid to enhance service delivery.  Under this system, patients are scheduled in blocks.  "Each patient is given an appointment date and time, and is required to attend for treatment at the time specified on the appointment card” explained, Miss Morris. This system is designed to improve how patients access the various clinics held in health centres and hospitals. It reduces waiting time for patients and facilitates more effective crowd management. It also eliminates overcrowding in waiting areas and other support service areas (Pharmacy, Diagnostic etc) at facilities.  Implementation will continue in other hospitals and major health centres, over the next six months.

Customer service is another critical area currently being strengthened, with the initiation of a Customer Service Drive. Mrs. Gloria Fenton- Rose, Director of Human Resources and Industrial Relations said, "The programme is aimed at enhancing internal and external customer service. The major components are customer service training for all staff members and an Employee Recognition Programme (ERP)." Under the ERP, outstanding staff members are identified and awarded for demonstrating good customer service and work ethic. Categories in the Recognition Programme include: Customer Service, Team Work, Creativity and Innovation, Professionalism, Leadership, Commitment, and Flexibility.

The Clients Complaint Mechanism is a system designed to manage all client complaints related to the provision of health care in the region. Miss Morris said, “We are committed to providing the best possible care for patients and their relatives. We value feedback from our clients and encourage them; to call our customer care line at 1888 795 5000, visit our website at www.nerha.gov.jm and complete an online complaint form, or by visiting any health facility in the region”.

Patients or their relatives can express concerns or recommendations in relation to the outcome of procedures, the manner in which they were treated or quality of services received. The Client Complaint Mechanism is aimed at resolving all matters.