JIS News

Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke is appealing to parents who visit the Bustamante Hospital for Children to be cognizant of the challenges being faced by the hospital and to refrain from abusing the staff.
“I am appealing to parents who use the services of the hospital to be more mindful of the challenges being faced by the hospital with the increased number of patients and to control their behaviour,” she said.
Mrs. Clarke, who was speaking to JIS News following a meeting with key personnel at the hospital on January 8, noted that parents who were having problems and needed assistance, should ask to speak with someone in charge and not resort to aggression and violence.
The Children’s Advocate met with the Chief Executive Officer, Beverley Needham and other health officials at the hospital, following reports of nurses withdrawing their services after one nurse was reportedly assaulted by a parent.
“First, there was the complaint of children with gastroenteritis not getting the attention that they needed and then there was the complaint of nurses withdrawing their services because of an incident at the hospital,” she told JIS News.
According to the Children’s Advocate, parents who resort to behaving unruly must remember that their children are watching and would imitate their behaviour. “When you go to the hospital and you curse and swear and you get aggressive, you are setting a bad example for your children and others around,” she pointed out.
“We went to investigate and tried to determine what was happening there and to ensure that the best interest of the children is not being affected. We also wanted to find out some of the problems that the staff was faced with and how our intervention and advocacy could help,” Mrs. Clarke said.
The Children’s Advocate said that one of the main problems the hospital is facing is the tremendous increase in the number of patients attending the hospital on a daily basis since the free health care initiative was announced.
“It was pointed out that they were having patients from as far as Westmoreland and Montego Bay,” she said.Mrs. Clarke noted that it was absolutely necessary for persons to be informed and to know when to go to a specialist hospital as it was found that clients were using the hospital as a clinic by showing up with minor cases that could be dealt with at the community health centre.
She informed that her office would be meeting with representatives of the Southern Regional Health Authority and the Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Environment.
In the meantime, she commended the staff of the hospital for the tremendous work that they were doing and pledged the continued support of her office.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in the interest of the children. However, we need to understand that if we fail to look at the interest of the staff, it will be difficult to focus on the interest of the children,” she maintained.