The issue of discrimination in our healthcare system, especially against vulnerable populations such as those living with HIV and the LGBT community, has been a major concern for as long as I can remember. I am really pleased to see that there is now a formal system in place to address this, with USAID funding. I also like the Compassionate Care programme established by Health Minister Christopher Tufton, which was set up this year at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital. I would love to hear whether it is making progress in reducing the number of complaints from pregnant women. (Do we need anti-discrimination laws in Jamaica? I think we do).
This programme is much needed. Here is the Ministry of Health press release:
Health Ministry Delivers Complaint Management System Manual, Toolkit
KINGSTON, Jamaica. 4 July 2018: The Standards and Regulations Division of the Ministry of Health, with support from Health Policy Plus (HP+), has published a Complaint Management System (CMS) Manual and Toolkit that is to inform the delivery of health services to the public.
With the Ministry’s increased focus on patient-centered care, the manual forms part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its Client Complaint Mechanism (CCM) and overall CMS.
The CMS aims to improve the quality of service delivery in the public health sector by, among other things:
- collecting feedback from internal and external clients;
- providing a means for failures and/or complaints to be investigated; and
- providing redress to clients.
One hundred copies of the manual – funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for which HP+ is an implementing entity – were officially handed over to the Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton at the Ministry’s head office in Kingston recently.
The Minister anticipates that the manual will be a useful tool for, to begin with, the Compassionate Care Programme, launched earlier this year at Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
“Compassionate Care is a customer service programme, which seeks to enhance the non-clinical delivery of service. We have trained over 60 frontline staff in customer service as part of that approach. What we are hoping for is that this manual will be an important addition to providing the training material for that in the future,” Tufton said.
“We are also going to the institutions of learning because I think that, over time, the medical schools have de-emphasized offering care with compassion. I am actually talking to them about looking at the curriculum to see how they can enhance that; maybe this can be a valuable tool in assisting them to integrate some of this,” he added.
In 2015, the Standards and Regulation Division, which has oversight for the CMS, approached HP+ to strengthen the CCM, which was previously launched in 2000. Courtesy of the technical assistance provided, the manual is now aligned with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001, Quality Management Systems – Requirements (2008) and outlines clear processes for accessing, documenting, investigating and resolving customer complaints.
It also includes a monitoring and evaluation framework that ensures complaint data is captured for quality improvement activities and programme and policy development.
Sandra McLeish, Jamaica country programme director for HP+, is proud of the effort.
“Having a robust reporting and redress system will go a far way in increasing the confidence of clients of the health sector that the Ministry of Health is taking issues of discrimination seriously. The Standards and Regulations Division of the Ministry of Health has partnered with us for a number of years to develop this manual and toolkit that will strengthen not only the reporting but the avenues for redress for users of the system,” she said.
“It is important that the most vulnerable persons in society, such as key populations and persons living with HIV, have their issues addressed in a structured, transparent and effective way. That is what this system will now allow,” added McLeish.
For more information contact the PR and Communications Unit at the Ministry of Health at (876) 633-8174.
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