Editorial for 23 April: Urgent care could help

The fact that the Health Services Authority is considering
an urgent care clinic should be welcome news to all who avail themselves of
services from the Cayman Islands Hospital.

A recent survey, which polled 500 people, showed many found
the response times at the accident and emergency facilities at the hospital
lacking.

Those who have found themselves at the facility know all too
well the long wait times between arriving there and finally being treated.

This from Wikipedia: “Urgent care is the delivery of
ambulatory care in a facility dedicated to the delivery of medical care outside
of a hospital emergency department, usually on an unscheduled, walk-in basis.
Urgent care centres are primarily used to treat patients who have an injury or
illness that requires immediate care but is not serious enough to warrant a
visit to an emergency department …”

That is precisely what is needed in Cayman. Many of those
who go to accident and emergency don’t really have an emergency; they simply
need the care of a physician and when an emergency does present itself, those
who aren’t in immediate danger are left waiting even longer.

Some respondents to the survey wanted to see better customer
service and better attitudes from staff.

We can appreciate the strain that hospital staff is under at
varying times, but customer service is a must in any business – and yes, the
hospital is a business whose job it is to make money.

Contrary to what some of the survey takers said, medical
care at the hospital should not be free. Patients must pay their bills so that
staff can be paid, supplies ordered and costs of operating the hospital and
clinics covered.

While most agree that an urgent care clinic or something
like it is needed to ease the burden on the accident and emergency services,
the Health Services Authority is going to have to come up with the money to pay
for such a facility. And that’s going to have to come from the people who use
the HSA services.