Jamaica Information Service – For Linstead resident Fallette Vidal, the official opening of the Drug Serv Pharmacy at the Linstead Public Hospital in St. Catherine on December 13, affords her the opportunity of getting her prescription filled quickly, as the waiting time has been reduced significantly.
Ms. Vidal shared with JIS News that it can sometimes be a hassle to wait for her medication, but through instituted time-saving measures, a much smoother flow is enabled.
“In the past, it took longer to get my prescription, but now it goes faster. I prefer Drug Serv because I get through on time. The service is good,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by another customer of the Drug Serv Pharmacy, Paulette Singh.
“I have been coming here for two years now… You get all of your medication and you get them on time, and you have a number of windows where you can go and collect it. I prefer the service here; it is good,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson, in his remarks during the opening of the new pharmacy, said several strategies were put in place to reduce waiting time from four or five hours to an average of one hour and 16 minutes.
Among the strategies are the Quick Prescript application, scheduled refills for chronic patients and drop-off/pick-up services.
“This is still above our target that within two years our waiting time should be significantly under one hour. But that will take some partnership between patients and the National Health Fund (NHF),” he said.
Mr. Anderson assured those benefiting from the services offered by the NHF that the entity will continuously improve its operations “end-to-end from procurement buying of drugs, warehousing to dispensing to patients”.
“Our warehouse was recently International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-certified, and this year we have started the process of certifying the larger Drug Servs. We have four of them in Mandeville; at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH); at Port Maria, St. Mary; and Greater Portmore in St. Catherine,” he informed.
Mr. Anderson indicated plans for the upcoming year to partner with patients to ensure that medications are taken correctly.
For his part, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton also acknowledged the reduction time in dispensing drugs to as “short as half an hour and in some instances even shorter if you ‘pre-send’ your prescription for it to be filled and then you pick up after”.
“To move from four and five hours to less than half an hour with a doubling of dispensing windows is a manifestation as to the reasons the NHF would be recognised for their corporate governance,” the Minister said.
During this year’s staging of the Public Sector Corporate Governance Awards hosted by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), in collaboration with the Finance and the Public Service Ministry, the NHF copped five awards, including the award for top public body, which was presented to the entity for the second year.
Built at a cost of $31 million, the 1,500 square feet pharmacy stands as a commitment to improving healthcare and prescription services for all Jamaicans. The pharmacy adds to the 105 facilities across the island.
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