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Story Highlights

  • The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has extended its surgery hours from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., to reduce the waiting time at the health facility.
  • The surgical interventions that are proposed for this extended period include uterine fibroids, hernias, haemorrhoids, prostate disease, gallstones as well as colorectal procedures.
  • Dr. Tufton said this initiative will have to be implemented at other facilities across the country, including public hospitals.

The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has extended its surgery hours from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., to reduce the waiting time at the health facility.

This forms part of the Ministry of Health’s overall plan to improve efficiency of healthcare delivery and reduce the waiting time for patients.

The surgical interventions that are proposed for this extended period include uterine fibroids, hernias, haemorrhoids, prostate disease, gallstones as well as colorectal procedures.

The project was launched during a ceremony held on the compound of the UHWI, yesterday (December 21).

In his address, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said doctors in the public sector perform more than 66,000 surgeries per year.

“We have, at the last check, well over 2,000 Jamaicans who are waiting for basic surgical procedures, at great frustration to the patient, sometimes, as it involves pain and suffering,”  Dr. Tufton said.

He added that in some instances, patients have been waiting for more than two years to have their surgical procedures done.

“We have to make an attempt to bring that waiting time down, and that is basically the task. In the dialogue that we have had with the stakeholders, it is quite clear that there are implications as it relates to the coordination of different departments, operating theatre and scheduling of surgery time,” the Minister said.

Dr. Tufton said this initiative will have to be implemented at other facilities across the country, including public hospitals.

“We are doing the assessment now, and I am happy that we are able to start with the UHWI, because they have the capacity… and more expertise. They are able to model the extended hours quicker and allow us to determine how we can adjust to getting it into the other areas,” the Minister added.

It is expected that with the extension of surgery hours at the UHWI, which performs 10,000 surgical cases yearly, there will be an increase in the number of surgeries and, ultimately, a reduction in the backlog of cases.

Meanwhile, Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, said the extension in surgery hours will allow the hospital to undertake more cases.

“I know how difficult it is to achieve this, but I would encourage you to continue your efforts to get this extended across our hospitals in Jamaica,” Professor McDonald told the Minister.

For his part, Chairman, Board of the UHWI, James Moss-Solomon, expressed his appreciation to the Ministry for its support of the initiative.