Docs in the loop

Docs in the loop

Western Regional Health Authority challenges lack of info claims

Monday, August 19, 2019

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ERROL Greene, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority, which has responsibility for Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), has countered claims made by heads of the Association of General Medical Consultants (AGMC) and the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA) that there has been no dialogue with the medical professionals about the progress of work being done at the incident-plagued hospital.

Responding to the claims published in yesterday's Sunday Observer, Greene defended the steps that had been taken to share information with the medical professionals on the ground.

“It is a surprise to learn of this lack of information as a variety of methods have been used and are being used to communicate with the staff at the hospital to ensure that they are kept abreast as to the progress of the work,” Greene said in a statement yesterday.

He explained that there are monthly meetings with the hospital's management and internal stakeholders.

In addition to these, Greene told the Observer that the team has also employed non-traditional tools to ensure that information is shared, including the popular WhatsApp messaging service.

Speaking at an Observer Press Club last week, AGMC President Dr Konrad Lawson charged that “when the minister is organising things, we read about it in the newspaper, and the MAJ [Medical Association of Jamaica] president is invited and the JMDA gets invited from time to time, and we read and hear about it after the fact”.

However, Greene said there are regularly scheduled meetings to faciliate updates held by the five-member oversight committee appointed in May of last year and chaired by Professor Archibald McDonald, consultant surgeon and retired principal of the Mona Campus of The University of The West Indies.

However, JMDA head Dr Elon Thompson had charged that, “Since the committee has been formed... we have not been invited to a meeting for an update. The JMDA as an organisation has not received any communication from the committee. I know the committee doesn't report to us; I am sure they report to the minister, but the minister or the Ministry of Health has said nothing to us.”

But the regional head maintained yesterday that the group meets to provide periodic updates, the most recent being on June 26, with another scheduled for September.

In detailing his concerns, Thompson told the Observer that “staff morale is at an all-time low at that institution” as a result of the medics being separated and assigned to various private clinics.

Greene, however, acknowledged that some reassignments had occurred and he was willing to seek the input of the doctors and their representatives to better handle the flow of communication.

Said he: “We are more than happy to meet with the doctors and the respective associations to ensure that we are on the same page and are all working towards restoring the facilities of the main building on the compound, while providing the best possible care to residents of western Jamaica.”

Services at the CRH main building were scaled down and the structure evacuated in April last year as work started to counter air quality issues associated with its ventilation system. Rehabilitation of the 10-storey building is being undertaken at a cost of approximately $3.5 billion and is scheduled to be completed by November.

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