Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, presenting retired Executive Officer, Euleen Gooding, with an Sward of Appreciation??at the inaugural Awards Ceremony of the Winston Scott Polyclinic at the Accra Beach Hotel.

Our polyclinic system is key to the achievement of our prevention strategy, which seeks to address health issues before they reach the need for secondary and tertiary levels of care.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss stressed this recently, as he addressed the inaugural Awards Ceremony of the Winston Scott Polyclinic at the Accra Beach Hotel.

Acknowledging that the polyclinic system was a priority area of the Ministry of Health and Government, Mr. Inniss said: "This is important in relieving the burden of our general hospital and, also in our initiatives to contain cost to manageable levels."

He added: "The public health care institutions play a pivotal role in providing care and treatment and general well being to the public of Barbados… Often times, staff within these institutions go beyond the call of duty, so that our communities may receive the best possible care. With the growing impact of chronic non-communicable diseases, new viruses and re-emerging diseases, our health care workers are invaluable in seeking to protect the public through the delivery of quality care and treatment, especially on the preventative side."

While disclosing that one of the concerns of his Ministry was that of addressing challenges at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in relation to waiting time in emergency areas and outpatient clinics, Mr. Inniss noted that the primary care department of the Health Ministry and the QEH had been directed to work together. The aim of the discussions, he explained, would be to identify the services being performed at the QEH that could be better performed in the polyclinic system and the resources needed to make this happen.

"So the Ministry of Health must be solutions-driven, as we continue to address the myriad of complex human, financial and organisational challenges which confront it," Mr. Inniss declared.

The Minister also alluded to Government’s rationalisation programme, about to be embarked upon throughout the public service and disclosed, "I certainly look forward to this, as I believe that we have to ensure that we make the best of our human resources and they are deployed accordingly, across the board."

He also spoke about the importance of the appraisal initiative, the Performance Review and Development System (PRDS), that would soon be rolled out in the Health Ministry, stressing that it would prove "effective in evaluating the performance of various categories of officers in the Ministry’s diverse environment".

Mr. Inniss opined: "It will heighten everyone’s awareness of the link between their performance and the Ministry’s achievement of its strategic goals and objectives. The idea of a proper appraisal system should not be seen as a way of punishing anyone, but as a means of identifying and seeking to eliminate inefficiencies in the system."

The Health Minister further gave the assurance that Government would continue to make improvements to the physical and administrative side of the primary health care system. And, he maintained: "We cannot continue to invest in public spending while maintaining old inefficiencies and deficits which are constantly being raised by the public. At the same time, we need to have the public appreciate the valuable role of the

primary health care system, which predominates in the health care of communities, along with offering health promotion and sensitisation to the general public."

Some 25 performance awards were presented to staff in various departments of the Winston Scott Polyclinic. The awardees were advised by Minister Inniss to view their achievement "as a means of inspiring staff to reach their full potential, taking into account that those with years of experience should mentor those new and less experienced members of staff."

Meanwhile, Senior Medical Officer of Health at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch, in echoing the Minister’s sentiments, said: "As we continually seek to improve on what we do, based on the foundation of best practices, I believe that [with] the introduction of the PRDS by the Ministry of Health, in the near future, and collaboration with bodies such as the Productivity Council and the National Initiative For Service Excellence (NISE), we will be able to improve our awards process on the next occasion."

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