More in-patients at hospital

The number of in-patients treated at the Cayman Islands Hospital last year was the highest in the Health Services Authority’s history, according to recently released statistics.

The Health Services Authority’s statistics show that in 2010 the hospital had 5,669 in-patients, including newborns, compared to 5,583 the previous year, 5,344 in 2008 and 5,174 in 2007.

However, the number of outpatients and casualty visits at the hospital dropped by nearly 1,500 to 110,628 last year from 2009, probably due to a rise in the number of people making use of the local district clinics, said Health Services Authority Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood.

Ms Yearwood said that while figures so far for 2011 showed that the number of patients admitted to the hospital was down compared to the early months of last year, the Health Services Authority was hoping to hire extra clinical staff.

“What we’re trying to get approved is additional positions for clinical staff for the next budget year because we have seen an increase in workload,” she said.

One area that has seen a lot more customer traffic is the hospital’s pharmacy, Ms Yearwood said, as more people appear to filling their prescriptions at the public pharmacy.

“In order that the quality of care does not get negatively impacted, we are going to have to examine the possibility of increasing staff in a few areas,” she said. As well as trying to get more staff for the hospital’s pharmacy, Ms Yearwood said the health authority would also try to secure more general practice doctors for its clinics and some more critical care nurses.

The Health Services Authority last year made a profit for the first time since it was established in 2002. Announcing the unaudited profit of $2.3 million last year, the chairman of the authority’s board, Canover Watson, said to achieve that profit, the hospital had streamlined the work of administrative staff, introduced an electronic financial management and clinical information system to better track finances and patient revenue and cut back on utility expenses, among other belt-tightening initiatives.

Ms Yearwood said no clinical staff were lost in the cost-cutting exercises last year.

The number of visits to district clinics also increased in 2010, with 38,799 visits to clinics in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman, compared to 38,037 the previous year.

The health authority’s CEO said that last year’s H1N1 swine flu was one of the reasons for the increased number of visits to the clinics, as well as the jump in the number of in-patients in 2010.

Last year’s launch of CayHealth – a programme to encourage people to get their primary health care within their local districts – may also have led to more people visiting their clinics rather than going to the hospital, she said.

Statistics showed that visits to the government’s dental clinic had also increased to 27,514 last year, compared to 27,351 in 2009 and 24,663 in 2008.

The number of major operations carried out at the public hospital in George Town also rose to a new high last year, with 1,512 patients undergoing surgery, compared to 1,398 in 2009 and 1,186 in 2008.

Ms Yearwood said the operating theatres at the hospital saw surgeries from both the public and private sectors.

Cayman’s public health system has a total of 121 beds – 103 in the Cayman Islands Hospital and 18 at Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac.

“What we’re trying to get approved is additional positions for clinical staff for the next budget year because we have seen an increase in workload.”
Lizzette Yearwood, CEO, Health Services Authority