According to the Ministry of Health, over 40,000 Jamaicans have benefited from diagnostic services since the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Enhancing Healthcare Services Delivery Project began in September 2019, with 40,615 tests done under the diagnostic component of the project. CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, mammograms, and fluoroscopic studies were among the diagnostic options available.
The Ministry notes that CT Scans accounted for 65.26 percent of the 40,615 tests completed to date; MRIs 13.45 percent; and Ultrasounds 16.67 percent of the examinations ordered by the various institutions, with a higher percentage of females (53.06 percent) receiving services than males (46.94 percent ).
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, November 10, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton noted that “this is a partnership between the public and private sectors with 16 private service providers across the island providing national coverage of participating health facilities. These services were provided at a cost of J$1,421,313,618 and Jamaicans no longer have to wait or go without diagnostic tests. Good things are happening in public health.”
The Ministry of Health and Wellness completed an internal evaluation of the project, and preliminary data show that bed-stay time has been decreased by two days on average.
“This is very significant as with the over 360,000 patients that are seen in hospital each year, this reduction is not only a significant cost saving but has resulted in, outside of COVID-19 beds, no overcrowding in the general hospital wards,” Dr. Tufton added.
The Ministry is currently finalising a contract with an independent business to analyze the initiative and validate the impact of service delivery changes in hospitals.
The Ministry’s short and medium-term strategy for reducing wait times and overcrowding in hospitals by outsourcing diagnostic services, removing social cases from hospitals, and outsourcing elective surgery included the Enhancing Healthcare Services Delivery Project.