THE EDITOR, Sir:
I READ recently where former Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green, a Briton, made comments on the Jamaica Constabulary Force. His description could also be levelled at other government institutions - for example, tax offices, post offices, and hospitals.
It is no wonder some members of Government, and others with the financial resources, travel abroad for medical treatment. In Jamaican hospitals, the staff are wonderful and the medical care is good, but the system under which they have to work dates back to 1910. It is unbelievablly outdated!
Patients wait for hours, then go in a conveyor-belt method to the receptionist, then take a document to the registration person, get registered, wait a long time again - this time for the names to be called over the public address system.
THE LONG WAIT
Then patients line up at the security gate and wait again for staff, armed with folders, who approach the security gate and call the names again of those standing at the gate to enter inside. Then one waits again for names to be called for lining up at a doctor's consulting room door to be called in as appropriate.
After that, there's another wait for a name to be called for a patient to enter a treatment room to be dealt with by a nurse. This can take a whole day ,from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Will any MP, his/her family go through this process? No, they will fly off to to some foreign land or, if using local hospitals, be whisked, preferentially, through as VIPs and seen to promptly.
The management of these institutions need to come into the 21st century. Staff are not to blame for the long waiting time; it is the system that they are given to work with. It is not just a matter of resources.
The Ministry of Health needs to modernise these outdated systems which, in turn, will end the frustration of patients and improve working conditions, well-being and, possibly, the long-term health of staff. The amount of paperwork and the filling out of different forms for the same patient can be minimised.