Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Shorter wait at UHWI

Published:Sunday | September 28, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Dr Carl Bruce (centre) and Dr Kingsley Chin (left), assisted by a nurse, as they perform a Less Exposure Surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies recently. -Contributed

Longer-than-expected waiting time for some surgeries but no three-year appointments

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) appears to be doing much better than the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in performing elective surgeries in a reasonable time.

While the KPH is forcing patients to wait for up to three years and is two months away from offering patients 2018 appointments, officials of the UHWI say their waiting time is nowhere that long.

However, chief executive officer of the UHWI, Dr Cecil White, while admitting that some persons are asked to wait for an extended time, did not disclose just how long persons are having to wait.

"Our records cannot substantiate the claim of a three-year waiting list in elective surgeries. However, as the main referral hospital on the island, we do receive cases from all peripheral hospitals," said White.

"From time to time, this may result in longer than expected waiting times for certain specialist areas such as ophthalmology, orthopaedics, cardiothoracic and neurosurgery," added White.

'problems are being managed'

According to White, while the UHWI has challenges typical in a hospital environment, the problems are being managed.

"The UHWI operates a suite of seven operating theatres which are currently fully functional. There is currently no shortage of doctors at our institution."

The long wait for surgery at the KPH has been blamed on several factors, including malfunctioning equipment such as the main elevator; not enough operating theatres in relation to the numbers seeking help; shortage of surgical and non-surgical equipment, and not enough doctors.

There has also been a claim that the KPH is stressed because doctors at the UHWI refer their worst orthopaedic cases to the downtown Kingston-based facility.

But White has rejected this claim.

"The UHWI does not 'send' patients to KPH. They opt to go there to take advantage of the lower cost of surgeries. Be reminded that the KPH is a 'no-user-fee' institution whereas the UHWI is not."