Friday 3 July, 2020

VIDEO: Customer service at hospitals a concern - Tufton

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton addressing journalists at a press conference on Wednesday. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton addressing journalists at a press conference on Wednesday. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has expressed concern about the level of customer service at some hospitals across the island and warned that appropriate action will be taken against workers who violate the ministry's patient care guidelines.

Tufton said he has personally received numerous complaints about lack of attention and compassion at healthcare facilities. 

"I want to just make it clear that this is not the policy of the ministry and it is an unacceptable approach to administering public health," Tufton said at a press conference at the ministry's New Kingston offices on Wednesday.

"We require and demand our internal stakeholders to provide service with compassion and empathy; where this is absent, we will have to take appropriate action," he added.

As part of its thrust to improve the quality of service and the standard of care in public hospitals and health centres across the island, the Ministry of Health earlier this year introduced its Compassionate Care Programme, which saw frontline staff being trained in customer service principles.

Still, according to Tufton, there is room for improvement.

"We need to work on improving our customer service experience. It is a concern of mine and I regret those who have had bad experiences," he said.

The health minister made the statement even while admitting that a spike in patient numbers - due to increased dengue and influenza cases - has hospitals bursting at the seams, resulting in increased waiting times at the medical facilities. 

"The challenges are there... the triage process prioritises based on the severity of the circumstances, but I believe that the least that a patient should expect is an explanation of what the circumstances are and be treated humanely," Tufton said.

 

 

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