Health Minister begins board reviews

Minister of Health Dr. Christopher Tufton has begun a review of the public boards of management in health, as their three-year tenure draws to a close.

To that end, the Minister is hosting a series of meetings with the boards of the four regional health authorities, together with those of agencies of the Ministry of Health, councils and hospital management committees to thank them for their service, but also to assess progress and help to determine next steps.

The first meeting was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Monday, February 11. There were some 70 participants, including representatives from the board of the National Health Fund, the National Family Planning Board, the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Nursing Council of Jamaica, the Dental Council of Jamaica, the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica, the University Hospital of the West Indies, St Joseph’s Hospital, Linstead Public Hospital, and Bellevue Hospital. Also in attendance were board members from the Kingston Public Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital.

In addition to thanking the membership of the various boards, Minister Tufton informed the team of the range of priorities identified by the Ministry of Health for the upcoming year, including the operationalisation of the Ministry’s 10-Year Strategic Plan – developed with support from the Inter-American Development Bank – to chart the course toward universal access to health and universal healthcare coverage.

Critically, the meeting was also about providing participants with the opportunity to articulate their concerns and make recommendations for improvements across the health system. They were also asked to prepare a two-page brief of priorities as they see them.

“We have significant work to do in the new financial year and it is going to require an effective health administration machinery, if we are to succeed in realising the ‘healthy and stable population’ aimed for in Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development Plan and Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being for All at All Ages,” Tufton said.

The next meeting is scheduled for later this month with the Western Regional Health Authority and the North East Regional Health Authority.