Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis has urged Tobago Regional Health Authority chairman Ingrid Melville and Medical Chief of Staff Dr Victor Wheeler to ensure healthcare workers practise good customer service.
He made the statement on Friday while addressing the opening of the $27 million Moriah Health Centre.
He said while it is good to have well-equipped, spanking new health facilities, proper customer service is paramount to the success of the sector.
“I want to appeal to all of us who operate within the health care sector that there is still more work to be done in order to improve healthcare because, yes, facilities are not a problem, we have health centres scattered across the island.
“The question has to be asked that with the coming into effect of this facility…..I want to suggest to us that there is a need for us to quickly improve our customer service on the island, whether it be not just the hospital, but even in the tourism sector.”
Dennis said with the thrust toward domestic tourism, Tobagonians working in the island’s service sector must pay closer attention to customer service.
“During this (covid19) pandemic, our borders are closed and we are highly dependent on domestic tourism, which is our brothers and sisters coming from Trinidad.
“But, we have to ensure that we improve our customer service. We have to ensure that we are willing to go the extra mile for our visitors.”
He said the same approach must adopted in the health sector.
“I want to remind all of us that of the people coming for healthcare are not aliens or persons from Singapore, Russia or Japan but our very own Tobago brothers and sisters who deserve nothing but the best.
“So, I want to advise and admonish the leadership of the TRHA to ensure that we begin to adjust our systems and procedures so that in addition to the facilities and state-of-the-art and modern equipment, we can, in fact, have people within the system who are well trained, poised, smiling, caring and facilitatory to all our persons coming to the facilities to receive healthcare.”
Dennis said Tobago will be able to boast of a robust healthcare system when that is achieved.
PAY HEALTH WORKERS' GRATUITY
Dennis also said the issue of outstanding gratuity payments for healthcare workers in Tobago must be addressed.
“If we want to get the best out of our staff and out of our nurses, our doctors, ward attendants, wards maids and even those who work in the cafeteria and even the cleaners who are responsible for ensuring that all the health care protocols are observed, we must ensure that we pay attention to their challenges.”
He said too many healthcare workers, especially nurses, are complaining about not receiving gratuity payments for prolonged periods of time.
“And, therefore, we must identify the funding, we must put the systems in place to ensure we treat with those long outstanding issues, because if I was a nurse and I suddenly received my gratuity payments from five, six years ago, that would be my best day on the job for a number of years. I am sure all of us will understand what I am speaking about.”
Health, Wellness and Family Development Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine, TRHA chairman Ingrid Melville and administrator Cherryl-Ann Solomon also spoke.