JAMAICA – Big promises
New minister pledges to improve health system
KINGSTON –– New Minister of Health Horace Dalley pledged yesterday to the people of Jamaica that he would improve the health system “as quickly as I can”.
Dalley, spoke with the Jamaica Observer following yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting at Jamaica House.
Earlier yesterday, the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), in a statement, while acknowledging Dalley’s return to the ministry, cautioned that for him to succeed where former minister Dr Fenton Ferguson had failed, it would require a more inclusive approach to the challenges facing the sector.
“It is our hope that the new minister will begin his return to this ministry on the right footing.
No minister can succeed in this ministry without the support of the workers in the sector,” said the statement, signed by the new MAJ president Dr Myrton Smith.
“If the ministry is serious about addressing the sector in a holistic and positive manner, stakeholder involvement is vital,” the MAJ statement noted.
Dalley, meanwhile, said he was prepared to take on the challenges as soon as he entered his new office at the ministry in New Kingston.
“I will be taking decisions to immediately implement some of the recommendations of the audit report that I think can be done right now,” he said.
In addition, he said that he would also address an “obvious” communication breakdown between the regional health authorities and the ministry.
“I will looking at the hospitals themselves, because having read the audit report, I have come to the conclusion that there is a breakdown in communications that we will have to address immediately,” he added.
In an obvious response to the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association’s (JMA) call for accountability, Dalley expressed agreement with the view that people had to be held accountable within the ministry.
He said he was briefed on the problems facing the ministry over the weekend, and he believed there were issues other than funding.
“The issues are not only about financing. People must be held accountable for the jobs that they are assigned to do,” he told the told the Observer.
Dalley’s views were also in line with the demands expressed by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in her public address on Sunday night. She urged him to make every effort, as quickly as possible, to correct the shortcomings in the health sector and to review the reporting between the regional authorities and the ministry.
Dalley said that his first task was meeting with the staff of the ministry to start dialogue on the basis of which he hoped to lay the foundation for cooperation and accountability.
The JMA, in its statement, said that it was appealing to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for substantive accountability and transparency, and hoped that the situation would be remedied to encourage good governance for all Jamaicans.