More compassion for persons using public health facilities
Jamaicans should soon begin to experience more compassion from medical practitioners when they visit public clinics and hospitals, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has said.
He was speaking to The Gleaner yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, during the 10th annual staging of the Kingston Public Hospital's Clinical and Scientific Conference.
The Minister announced that a compassion programme will be launched soon.
"One of the challenges we face in public health is that there is a perception that we lack compassion as we deliver care. Compassion is as important as the therapeutic process. You see it anecdotally in complaints. You see it also in customer surveys. One has been done by The Gleaner and the National Health Fund some time ago," said Tufton.
"There is a sense that we are not as compassionate in our customer service component, the patient experience component. We are going to be launching a compassionate care programme, guided by a compassionate care policy, to improve patient experience, not just on medical grounds. We believe it is important that people's perception and their state of mind be a critical part of how we address their ailments. We have to find a way to measure that over time, to determine how effective we are in providing that type of support."
Also major on Tufton's agenda to improve patient experience at the various facilities is the further reduction in patient waiting times.
"In addition to that, the compassionate care approach will also help waiting time experience, because patients will now wait in a more comfortable environment. Waiting time is a big part of our programme. We have a reduced waiting time initiative going on. It is in about six or seven hospitals, where we have improved the triage process in accident and emergency," he said.
"We have extended the opening hours of clinics and health centres. We have seen improvement with the reduction of waiting time in those areas. The programme is working and we are putting it in another three or four hospitals. We are going to continue throughout all 23 hospitals."