Minister of Health Donville Inniss greets Quality Focal Point and coordinator??of the??Continuous Quality Improvement workshop for health practitioners, Angela Crawford during a break..??

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is high on the health reform agenda.

This was stressed today by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, as he addressed participants at the opening of a CQI workshop for health practitioners, in the main conference room, 2nd Floor, National Insurance Building.

The Minister said: "Our much more enlightened society is calling for greater accountability from health care providers, higher expectations in processes and outcomes associated with personal care services as well as community-based services, and an increasing demand for better value for money by purchasers and policy makers."

Noting that CQI was also being fuelled by other considerations, Mr. Inniss added:?? "It is not only the demands and rights of our citizens, but our recently announced Health and Wellness Tourism policy, which will drive these changes as well. There is increasing interest shown by our local and foreign investors to develop a niche in the international health tourism market, as indicated in the Tourism Health and Wellness Consultation in 2010, with strong emphasis on quality and accreditation."

This market, he stated was currently estimated to attract some US $800,000 yearly and had potential, for increased revenue and employment in this sector.

CROSQ’s Project Coordinator, Giselle Guevara (centre) and??CROSQ’s consultant, Devindre Chattergoon (left)??in conversation with former Senior tutor at the QEH, Greselda Evans at the start of the Continuous Quality Improvement workshop for health practitioners held??at the NIS Building.??

Mr. Inniss acknowledged the Ministry’s role was to regulate the quality standards of health services by monitoring and evaluating effectiveness, efficiency and containment.?? He outlined the importance of adopting the CQI approach and said: "Poor quality of care directly imposes a financial burden on health systems as well as an even larger economic burden on society. The cost of poor quality is the additional monies spent in litigation cost. Therefore, strategies under this CQI approach will address improving patient safety, patient care outcomes, containing health care cost and fostering patient-centred approaches in all areas of health care delivery."

It was also suggested that continuous quality care had to embody highly trained practitioners, enlightened patients and relatives, safe and secure physical plants and relevant legislation to govern all aspects of the health care system.?? And, the Minister further recommended that attention be paid to continuous patient education.

He remarked: "An enlightened patient is a tremendous asset to any modern effective health care system… Professionals should never feel threatened by a patient who asks questions and demand answers. Such a relationship can only benefit all parties involved."

The training workshop is a collaborative effort between the Health Ministry and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality and is aimed at sensitising all health professionals in public and private sectors to the dimensions of quality services. jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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