BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS a result of complaints made by a resident of the conditions at the Federation’s premier health facility, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is seeking to reassure the public that the health and wellbeing of citizens and residents remains a priority within the sector as they seek to better their service.
In a press statement, the Ministry of Health said it is unwavering “in our dedication to the health and well-being of all our citizens and residents. We acknowledge that while our healthcare services aim to be of the highest standard, there are areas where improvements are not just desirable, but necessary. We are committed to a policy of continuous improvement, recognizing, and addressing our system's shortfalls with urgency and dedication”.
That statement comes against the backdrop of a resident, during a social media post, chronicled his experience and diagnosis a patient had from visiting the Joseph N France General Hospital.
He suggested that the machines are not properly functioning or they are giving “wrong readings”.
“We need some answers about these things. Are they really working,” the man questioned.
The Ministry took the opportunity in its press statement to outline its upgrades to the facility, noting: “Understanding the critical role of diagnostic services in effective healthcare delivery, the Ministry has made substantial investments to expand and enhance the capabilities of our radiology department. This initiative is part of our broader effort to ensure that our healthcare infrastructure meets and exceeds the needs of our community.”
Over the years, the MoH and hospital staff came in for heavy criticisms for the way patients are treated or the lack of due care for persons who are sick; in some cases, patients have complained of the length of time it took for them to be seen by a doctor.
In its two-page statement, the Ministry pointed to its expanded Radiology Department, international collaboration, and acquiring advanced equipment as part of its upgrade.
“Expanded Radiology Department: We are proud to announce that we currently have the highest number of Radiographers ever employed at the JNF Hospital, with a total of 7 certified individuals. We also have two consultant radiologists on staff. This expansion in manpower is a significant step forward in improving the accuracy and speed of diagnoses for our patients.”
In the area of international collaboration, the MoH said, “Our efforts to advance medical review practices, especially in radiological matters, are being bolstered through a pending collaboration with the renowned German Medical University, the Universitatsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH.).”
As part of its enhancement of the health sector the Government allocated EC$79.3 million in Recurrent expenditure and EC$21.5 million for Capital expenditure in the 2024 Budget.
In his presentation, Dr. Terrence Drew, Prime Minister and Minister of Health, emphasized that it was part of his Government’s “unwavering commitment to enhancing the health care services”.
“We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of health care to our citizens and residents, and we are confident that these initiatives will lead to a healthier and more prosperous future for our Nation,”
As part of its advancement, a number of new equipment have been installed at the J.N. F Hospital, including a new fluoroscopy machine,with the installation of an MRI and CT scan machines are on track for deployment in the next few months.
Meanwhile, following the complaints, the Ministry said it is undertaking a series of actions in response to concerns raised, “including thorough analysis and comprehensive reviews of diagnostic and treatment protocols, and an evaluation of current equipment and staffing levels”.
“We are dedicated to fostering an environment of transparency and accountability within our healthcare system,” the Ministry stated.