I applaud and hold the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) to its commitment to support local Health Service improvements. However, inferring our health facilities are solely to blame for the poor quality of care being received by the public is fraught with loopholes.
Trashing our public health institutions in such a non-specific and unmeasured manner is unhelpful at best. Furthermore, a claim of inadequate Occupational Health and Safety Standards is quite an allegation for which every team member is at least partially liable. This scenario is too grave to be used as a political roro.
If moving to the new hospitals is the aim of all of this, then I say ‘all hands on deck’ and let’s go! However I struggle to understand how this will significantly improve what are seemingly operational, process, policy and vague issues.
Health is predominantly a service-oriented industry with the support of materials, equipment and infrastructure. Quality of care is determined by the synergism of all facets. Therefore we cannot
readily speak of one aspect of health provision without seriously considering others
and in particular the most heavily weighted factor influencing our health outcomes—our professional services.
Unfortunately, my experience is that our prognosis is as dismal in a comfy bed and air-conditioned room if there is poor attitude, careless behaviour and inadequate competencies. My confusion and mistrust comes from the inequalities in care provided by our professionals, their conflicts of interest and inability to find balance between professional ethics and financial compensation.
Therefore, before I point a finger, I look in the mirror and ask myself as a health performer:
1) How long did it take our institutions to reach this supposed deplorable state? What was my role during its deterioration and now in the recovery process?
2) Regardless of the meagre compensation for my work, am I in a position to claim de-motivation in a job that is so heavily dependent on professional responsibility?
I commend the SLMDAs willingness to support, solve and sustain healthcare matters in the interest of the public. However, we need to be clearer on the problem statement before we embark on the solutions.
By Dr. Lesley St. Rose, Consultant Orthodontist