Prime Minister Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has commended the recognisable improvement in the level of service provided in the country’s hospitals.
Dr Mitchell made the comments as he met Tuesday with Minister for Hospital and Community Services Honourable Delma Thomas and senior officers within that ministry.
Speaking against the backdrop of the separation of hospital and community services from the general health portfolio, Dr Mitchell said the move was innovative and transformational and has yielded positive results. He said, “Since the introduction of this initiative, I can feel the difference. There is evidence of significant change and I must commend you for that. We are far from being perfect but the reality is that people are happy to see the change as it shows that Government is listening to their complaints. We must continue to work on the weaknesses that exist and bring about further improvement. I assure you that Government will continue to invest tremendous resources to improve health services in Grenada but we must continue to work together to bring about further change.”
Dr Mitchell acknowledged the Minister’s passion to effect change and he thanked the healthcare workers for the many sacrifices made and their continued commitment to the sector. He noted that while the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the challenges facing the sector, he is confident that through the cooperation of all involved, further improvements will come.
Minister Thomas, who assumed responsibility for the Hospital and Community Services portfolio 6 months ago, also thanked the team for their display of dedicated service, particularly during the pandemic. She said, “I have been on the ground with you, I have seen many of you go beyond the call of duty and I have seen firsthand some of the challenges in the system. You can rest assured of my continued willingness to be the champion for change in healthcare in Grenada.”
The series of meetings will provide an opportunity for ministry staff to share their concerns, comments and general feedback with the Prime Minister, with a view to effecting positive change and removing any roadblocks to desired levels of improvement.
At Tuesday’s meeting, a number of concerns were raised, including the need for additional human resources to effectively deliver on the increased range of services being offered by the public healthcare system; appropriate training for healthcare professionals and ancillary staff; disgruntlement among staff; a retention policy to curb the rapid turnover of staff; greater emphasis on mental health and the urgent need to relocate the Accident and Emergency Department to the Phase 2 building.
The Prime Minister has promised to engage further with the Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Health to address the concerns raised. On the subject of Covid-19 vaccination, Dr Mitchell sought greater support from health professionals for the programme, noting that the voices of professionals will lend greater credibility to the importance of this as means of returning to normal.
In closing, the Prime Minister asked for forbearance, as Government remains committed to honouring the 4% salary increase for public officers, as soon as the country’s revenue earnings can accommodate the increased wage bill.