Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Minister pleads with health professionals to balance compassion with care

Published:Tuesday | March 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Dr Orville Morgan (right), senior medical officer, Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH), shows off the Charter of Rights chart for patients to Dr Christopher Tufton (left), minister of health, during a tour of a section of the VJH yesterday during the launch of Compassionate Care at the hospital yesterday.

In addition to receiving clinical treatment and prescriptions, Jamaicans are expected to see an improvement in the administering of emotional care within the country's public health facilities, following the launch of the Ministry of Health's Compassionate Care programme yesterday.

At the launch, which was held at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in downtown Kingston, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton admitted that, despite some successes within the health sector over the years, there have been gaps in how patients are catered to emotionally.

"Public health is not just about administering professionally clinical analysis and treatment. Healthcare is about a state of mind. It's about how we administer that procedure ... in a way that appreciates the psychological component of the process of healing," Tufton stated.

"If you examine the track record of public health in Jamaica, we have had some successes. The reputation of our clinical staff, not just locally but internationally, is one that carries a lot of positives," the health minister argued.

"At the same time, if you talk to the average man on the street and measure the perception of the public generally in terms of their public health experience, unfortunately, the perception is more negative than positive," he continued.

He added: "Many times the perception is not as a result of their own experience but from the testimonials and discussions that take place. The reality is that everyday public health does great things, saves many lives and administers clinical procedures that are positive, but it only takes one event and the television camera is called in and it is exposed on prime time news, and all of a sudden, public health is the worst thing ever."

The minister said he expects that there will be significant improvement in patients' experiences and, while there will be errors, an effort must be made to make sure that the non-clinical approach is of the highest standard.