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UHWI treating A & E deficiency - Hospital to roll out measures to reduce waiting time

Published:Friday | June 16, 2017 | 11:03 AMRomario Scott
Consultant Dr Jean Williams-Johnson.

The frustration faced by persons who have to wait long periods to get treatment at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) has not escaped the eyes of the leadership of the facility, neither has the cry for the waiting time to be reduced fallen on deaf ears.

Addressing an Editors' Forum at The Gleaner's North Street offices in Central Kingston last week, members of the management team at the UHWI admitted that there are waiting challenges at the A&E department based on the high demand for treatment.

But the administrators say steps have already been taken to reduce the waiting time, with plans in place for additional measures to ease the frustration of the patients and worried family members and friends who take them to the hospital.

Consultant Dr Jean Williams-Johnson, who oversees the A&E Department at the 579-bed type-A facility, noted that, with resource constraints, priority has to be given to persons based on the nature of their complaints.

"We see patients according to the seriousness of their illness. A lot of times, we try our best for patients to be seen by the physicians as they come - with priority in mind," said Williams-Johnson.


She noted that sometimes treatment is delayed because of the wait for tests result. This is also being addressed.

"When a patient sees a doctor, you may have investigations that need done, and by their very nature, they won't be done within 10 minutes to get a report," said Williams-Johnson.

She pointed to cases such as when a sample has to sit for a stipulated period before testing can begin.

According to Williams-Johnson, in an effort to reduce the waiting time, the UHWI is changing some of the testing instruments to ones which will provide faster results. These include a digital X-ray machine, which is scheduled to arrive at the hospital later this year and should greatly speed up that process.

Williams-Johnson noted that the UHWI has also deployed patient-care representatives to the A&E Department and other sections of the hospital to provide information to persons seeking treatment and/or their family members worried about the time it is taking for medical personnel to deal with them.