Waiting to explode
Doctor warns that long wait at hospital is creating a time bomb
A senior member of the medical profession is warning local hospital administrators that the long delay experienced by children seeking medical attention at the Bustamante Hospital for Children can boil over into anger by parents.
Dr Shane Alexis, former president of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA), said while he could not comment on the specific case of Bustamante Hospital for Children, the long wait is not good for patients, parents, and hospital personnel.
"Long waiting times are bad for the patients. It adds to anxiety, it adds to anger, and it makes it difficult to provide quality health care. Every time I am asked to comment on issues such as these it reminds me of how much meaningful discussion is needed among all stakeholders to fix the health-care system once and for all," Alexis told Sunday Gleaner.
"Waiting long hours leads to confrontations; it increases pain and suffering, because you have to wait longer for relief," said Alexis, as he noted that the short-comings of the local health sector are long- standing.
"We need to have a 10-year-plan for the fixing the health-care sector in Jamaica. Ten years would be a reasonable benchmark to set goals, and to meet them in a serious way, from the budgetary allocations, moving that up to 10 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), because that is the recommended internationally."
He said in the United States 17 per cent of its GDP is provided for health care, while in Jamaica it was between three to four per cent.