Call us before you go to the media - health minister
Clearly peeved by the circumstances that led to the death of a child at the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth last week, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton pleaded with Jamaicans who encounter challenges at public health facilities to first contact the administrative staff, and, if necessary, the ministry, to seek redress.
Speaking with The Gleaner following the launch of the Compassionate Care Initiative at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on Tuesday, Tufton indicated that the ministry was trying to improve its communication strategies daily. He indicated that telephone numbers for the chief executive officers (CEOs) and the ministry of health would be displayed in all public health facilities and made an appeal to Jamaicans to make use of those avenues first.
"Every waiting area must have that communication set up, where the CEO will be aware that there is an issue and the minister will be aware," Tufton said. "I prefer if they call the CEO or call me than call a TV station and complain. Frankly, that is the way it should work. You should give people an opportunity to express their concern in a context where those concerns can be localised and dealt with rather than give them no option," he said.
"Going national oftentimes reinforces the negative reaction that one negative concern brings to an entire profession. There is wisdom in encouraging our patients and clients to voice those concerns at the local level first so that we can try to address those concerns," Tufton continued.
He sought to reassure citizens that the usual delays associated with government health facilities would be eliminated.
"I can't tell you that I will be answering the phone every time it rings, but there is someone in my office who will take the information and log it. Someone will man those calls. The CEO himself might not answer the phones, but there is a log which will be brought to his attention," the health minister advised. " I prefer if the CEO deals with it first, but if it has to be elevated, then we (ministry) will deal with it."
The contact numbers are 633-8104 (Ministry of Health) and 967-5742 (Victoria Jubilee Hospital).