New faces at HSA soon

But no new CEO

There will be several new faces around George Town Hospital in the coming months, but a new CEO will not be among them.

The search for permanent CEO to replace Acting CEO Lizzette Yearwood has been called off for now said HSA Board Chairman Pastor Alden Ebanks Monday.

He said the Ministry of Health and Human Services has asked his board to put the search on hold until a Ministry review of the HSA is complete.

Ms Yearwood was appointed acting CEO in October 2006, after then CEO Craig Brown was fired by the board in controversial circumstances.

This latest announcement comes only months after Health and Human Services Minister Anthony Eden told the Legislative Assembly that a consultancy firm had been engaged to find a replacement CEO.

During that address, Mr. Eden went on to say he hopes Ms Yearwood will be seen as the heir apparent to the CEO position once the yet-to-be-appointed CEO left the HSA.

While Ms Yearwood is staying put, there are plenty of other key personnel changes afoot at the HSA at the moment.

HSA board member Barrie Quappe announced she has stepped down from the board in a press release Saturday. Ms Quappe’s letter of resignation was sent to Minister of Health and Human Services Anthony Eden on 28 September with immediate effect.

Ms Quappe is now with the Office of the Complaints Commissioner.

The HSA has also conducted job interviews for top managerial positions, including chief financial officer, medical director and human resources director.

In a statement, an HSA spokesperson said these positions are expected to be filled by the end of November. The role of business analyst manager remains vacant, however.

The role of medical director was recently vacated by Dr. Tamer Tadros, who has taken up the role of health advisor with the Ministry of Health and Human Services.

Also leaving the organisation is nephrologist Dr. Fritz Hendricks, who has headed up the hospital’s dialysis unit since October 2003. Mr. Hendricks has shared responsibility for internal medicine – which includes neurology, cardiology and kidney dialysis – with Dr. Courtney Cummings.

His departure comes at a time when rates of diabetes – the world’s most common cause of kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant – is said to be at record levels in the Cayman Islands.

In its statement, the HSA simply said Mr. Hendricks’s contract had come to an end. Mr. Hendricks did not wish to comment on his departure, but confirmed he will be moving into private practice.

According to the statement, there will be no disruption to dialysis services at the hospital, with a locum physician set to take up duties with the dialysis unit before the arrival of a replacement for Mr. Hendricks, who has already been recruited.

Mr. Hendricks has been instrumental in organising numerous overseas kidney transplants for patients during his four years at the HSA.

Mr. Hendricks remains president of the Cayman Islands Kidney Association and has pushed for changes to the law to make organ donation legal in the Cayman Islands.

Other important medical positions being advertised by the HSA include a neurologist, a radiologist, an accident and emergency physician, a dental hygienist, a psychiatrist, a physiotherapist and a number of nurse positions.

The absence of a dental hygienist has resulted in delays in service, with some patients being referred to the private sector.

According to the statement, it is not uncommon for there to be a number of nursing vacancies from time to time.

‘Without a nursing training school in the Cayman Island we are highly dependent on expatriate nursing staff and other key professionals who join the HSA on specific contract term durations, as specified by the Immigration Law, and elect to renew or leave the service at the end of their tenure,’ it said.

‘It is well known that there is global shortage of healthcare professionals and the Health Services Authority has to compete with other jurisdictions in recruiting from the dwindling pool of available human resources. In spite of this global shortage, the Health Services Authority has been able to attract and retain some of the best qualified, competent and skilled professionals in these islands from several overseas locations.’

HSA administrators say the Ministry of Health and Human Services’ decision to fund a professional development programme for nurses (Caymanian Compass, 15 May) will help the HSA retain a cadre of highly skilled healthcare personnel on the island.

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