New specialist at public hospital

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority has recruited a full-time medical haematologist-oncologist to help enhance its blood diseases and cancer care services.

Dr. Lundie Richards, who has been a part-time consultant at the Cayman Islands Hospital for a few years, will work on diagnosing and treating blood cancers, blood disorders, such as anaemia, bleeding conditions like haemophilia, blood clots and solid cancers.

He joined the HSA’s pathology laboratory and oncology teams full-time last month, according to a HSA press release. In addition to haematology and oncology services, he will provide expertise in blood bank and transfusion medicine.

“I am honoured to work within the multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, patient-centred team of professionals at the HSA,” said Richards.

Before Richards’ full-time employment, Dr. Gillian Wharfe, a visiting oncologist-haematologist, travelled from Jamaica at least once a month to treat patients. Wharfe, who has been working with the HSA since 2002, will continue to provide medical care for patients.

“Blood cancers are treated differently from many solid cancers, which means that people who have blood cancer often choose to see a haematologist over an oncologist for their treatment. Having a full-time specialist on staff who is practised in both haematology and oncology allows us to diagnose and treat a wider range of cancers and provide more comprehensive, quality care to our patients,” said HSA Medical Director Dr. Delroy Jefferson in the release.

“An important part of cancer care is having the ability to receive it locally where family and friends are nearby for support. As such, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Richards, whose knowledge and experience will be most beneficial to increasing the value of our services to the people of our islands,” he added.

Richards received his medical degree from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas, Villa Clara, Cuba, where he graduated with ‘Diploma de Oro’ (Gold Seal Diploma – First Class Honours). He completed his Doctor of Medicine in Clinical Haematology and Oncology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He earned the Commonwealth Scholarship award in 2000 and pursued his Master of Science in Transfusion and Transplantation Sciences at the University of Bristol UK. He has also obtained a Master of Public Health from Lakehead University, Ontario Canada, and Master in Health Management from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.

Richards has worked as a haematologist-oncologist in Jamaica for more than 20 years. He has held several senior positions globally including: Director Laboratory Services Jamaica; Director National Blood Services Jamaica; Director Health Services Planning and Integration Jamaica; Advisor Blood Services Development and Management – Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization; and Senior Program Consultant at the Ministry of Health, Ontario, Canada.