Health sector needs a manager, not a doctor – Timothy

Newly sworn in Health Minister Julius Timothy has cited a lack of proper management as a major setback in the country’s health system.

Timothy won the Roseau North seat on a Dominica Labour Party ticket at the December 18, 2009 poll.

He said he is ready to put policies and programmes in place to ensure a better healthcare system in Dominica.

“One thinks that you have to be a doctor to take on the mantle as minister of health, but that is not even the case. It’s all about management and managing the system. We have a new hospital that has to be built and that has to be managed,” he said.

Timothy said he is worried about chronic non-communicable diseases affecting Dominicans.

“The Pan American Health Organization has told us that 66 percent of our women are obese and that has to be addressed. We have to put programs and policies in place to ensure that our people become more health conscious. Too many of our people die with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes,” he said.

The new health minister is also concerned about the services at the country’s main hospital.

“Even our hospital you hear people saying that they stay several hours before they see a doctor. This is unacceptable and it must stop. Even our nurses, you communicate with them behind a fence. They need to be more in touch with the patients and make them feel comfortable. All these things must be managed and done properly. We have a security system that is lacking and we must look into that,” he said

Timothy also suggested that the Ross University School of medicine should have their own hospital. He also suggested that they could take over the Portsmouth hospital and make it the referral hospital.

New Minister of Health Julius Timothy arrives at Monday's swearing-in ceremony/Sean Douglas photo

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25 Comments

  1. PROUD DOMINICAN
    January 7, 2010

    STOP TALKING POLITICS A FEW YEARS AGO I VISITED THE HEALTH CENTER

    THAT WAS LOCATED ON THE STREET WITH SMA AND THOSE NURSES

    WERE USING A .. FOR THEIR BATHROOM IN THIS DAY AND AGE

    NOW THAT CENTER IS IN THE GARDENS I WOUNDER WHAT THEY ARE USING

  2. D/can to the bone
    January 6, 2010

    Mr Timothy must focus on decentralising health care, by upgrading the Marigot and Portsmouth hospitals, and the health centres in the seven health districts to make health care more accessible and affordable to service users.remember in the 1980 under Miss Charles the then prime minister Dominica had the best primary health care.

    If we are going to have night landing facilities at Melville hall ,we need to upgrade the marigot hospital to deal with any emergencies in any form. Please train and have same in a stae of readiness please. We dont want two firemen running with a thing looking like a stretcher , and people running all over the place who are not train and dont know what they are doing. train your paramedics to haled such disasters together with having the equipment to do so .

    I am confident Mr timothy is capable of doing a good job within the ministry assigned ,he has the management skills.

    We really need a more state act hospital and more user friendly. According to Mr Timothy we need not to communicating to a nurse behind a fence.

  3. WILDLIFE
    January 6, 2010

    well said u have to sound postive u realy are a manager it could work .some of our wild life are not happy the bees thought the honey would become much sweeter and the dogs would remaning in the back yard backing while the lily toads would keep call in for fresh water to swim .the dogs are the graud and have your back the bees sting and the lily toads make alot so who gets all. WORK HARD FOR US IN THIS MINISTERY MANY OF US WHILE BE GET IN HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE .GOOD LUCK.

  4. Chawe
    January 5, 2010

    To 18 of 21 and gwa bay!!! I agree wit u guys 100%!!!! But is dem people alone dat know wat dey doin so we will jus wait to see wat happens!!! In d cabinet reshuffle…………….let me not be so quick!!! TIME WILL TELL!!!!!

  5. Sunshinegual
    January 5, 2010

    Mr. Minister it is Chronic Non comunicable diseases.

    Papa met mine you say dat infront of de people in WHO eh.

  6. Prophet2
    January 5, 2010

    Hope Tim doesn’t have to see a Doctor any time soon cuz this is kind of a slap in their face, one thing I know is that u should never diss a Doc.

  7. Anonymous
    January 5, 2010

    The health sysyem is really in need of a manager. I am happy to see the new minist er is ready to face the challenge. We cannot afford to piggy back on hospitals like Martinique and Guadeloupe anymore.A country’s health determines the kind of people within the nation. A healthy population is an asset to any country. Mr Timothy I believe has much management skills and it will be very interesting to see the new vision he has for the hospital, not the same depressing occurencies that we see every day at the casualty and the inconsistent and irresponsible actions of the staff. These abnormalities must stop. He is given a very great mandate and responsibility and I extend to him all the wisdom and grace he needs for this very special assignment. Let us give him all the support he needs for this awesome task

  8. Forward Thinking
    January 5, 2010

    I fully endorse Mr Julius Timothy statement and Sheli comments. Indeed a Minister of Health does not necesarily has to have a medical or nursing background. From a managerial perspective, the role of the Minister of Health is to establish a health service that clearly demonstrates the efficient utilisation of human, material and financial resources in providing high quality, cost effective health care to service users.

    Mr Timothy brings to the office of Minister of Health a high level of competence, knowledge and experience in the field of management, and Dominican can be confident and trust his ability to perform in that capacity.

    In the history of the UK’s National Health Service, many Health Ministers and CEO do not have a nursing and medical background, and many of them perform efficiently in their role. Although, the recent Health Minister had a medical background as a top surgeon (indeed, we can’t dispute that having a knowledge base in the chosen field does have its advantages (being both a manager and a clinician help one to focus and have a clearer view of what the service users experiences are and the working conditions of health professionals, because they have experience the working environment themselves).

    Mr Timothy’s key responsibility would be to ensure performance and financial delivery in the Dominica Health Service is on track and for advising and recommending remedial action as necessary.

    Structure, systems and processes must be put in place in the health service to drive up quality. Continuous quality assurance initiative is essential! With a well- motivated and supported workforce, there are many health care strategies Mr Timothy can explore. A few examples are:

    1. Mr Timothy must focus on decentralising health care, by upgrading the Marigot and Portsmouth hospitals, and the health centres in the seven health districts to make health care more accessible and affordable to service users.

    2. Emphasis must be placed on health education/ health promotion to encourage and motivate ndividuals to make lifestyle changes that can start making a bigh difference to their health.

    3. Having a triage system in Accident and Emergency to prioritize and expedite care.

    4 Reducing waiting time and hospital stay.

    5. Infection prevention and control

    6. Reducing morbidity and mortality rates.

    7. Staff development and training to ensure appropriately competent staff.

    8. Risk assessment and management.

    9. Auditing to ensure standards of care are maintained, etc.

    Mr Timothy’s appointment is indeed, very approplriate, and he will perform!

    A Proud Dominican

  9. outside the box
    January 5, 2010

    It is time to think outside the box. I hope that we can begin to see the avenues available in the health centre to generate income. There are many countries with less resources than Dominica which are pushing health tourism and doing very well at it.
    We should start thinking of privatized health care for those who can afford so we will not need to keep going to other countries for procedures which can be done very well in Dominica. People can even start coming to Dominica for holistic healthcare.

  10. triad
    January 5, 2010

    This is not unusual. Good examples of are in Jamaican and Bajan cabinets. There are two medical doctors presently in Jamaican cabinet and none of them is the minister of health (Dr.Horace Chang minister of water and housing and Dr.Kenneth Baugh). Barbados Dr Byer-Suckoo is the minister of sports and family. Their present ministers of health both have management backgrounds.
    As long as, Mr Timothy can surround himself with competent ad visors and technocrats he should be able to do well.

  11. sheli
    January 5, 2010

    Why are we making soooo much noise about Julius Timothy?

    In 1980 when Eugenia Charles was the Prime Minister there were no doctors in her cabinet – there were predominantly lawyers who practiced law as a profession.

    Hon. Charles Maynard was the Minister of Education and Health and did a superb job for Dominica between 1980 and 1985.

    Dominica immediately developed a world class Primary Health Care service that was the envy of other PAHO Member Countries. And the truth is Mr. Charles Maynard did not even know how to perform CPR at the time even though his family lives depended on it!!!
    I can forgive the young student from the DSC – it signals that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing! But on the other hand it shows that this student needs to further their studies.

    A minister is a manager and managers get things done through other people. As a manager less reliance is placed on technical skills and more emphasis is placed on conceptual skills – vision, mission, core values, strategic planning, finance, budgets, setting of goals, identifying resources – human, capital and other key resources as well as ensuring that targets are achieved and that the buck stops at his desk with him taking full responsibility for failures and sharing accomplishments with all who make up his team.

    It is painful to recognize that many of our contributors to this forum attended high school in the 1980s and cannot recall the ministers who had responsibilities for the many portfolios in government.

    1980 Charles Maynard – Minister of Education and Health

    1990 Ronald David – Minister of Health – a Lawyer for over 20 years at the time. Many of us should remember Hon. David pronouncements on heath for all by the year 2000.

    1995 Doreen Paul – Minister of Health and Social Security and she was a former employee of National Bank of Dominica as a Loans Officer. All UWP supporters should remember that Doreen Paul was the first Minister to face the media in the UWP Government and did an excellent job as Minister of Health. We must always know our history and our media practitioners should inject our history every now and again to ensure that it serves as a reminder to the older folks and as a lesson to the younger folks who obviously never had time to read any other books except their school textbooks and passed an exam – hence the comments being made.

    2000 Herbert Sabroach – Minister of Health and Social Security

  12. Dominican in the Disapora
    January 5, 2010

    Having a person with experience in the medical field to be minister of health tends to be the ideal however being an excellent medical doctor maynot necessarily means that you have skills necesary to management a hosipital . You may need a business manger. Mr. Timothy is abosolutely right one does not have to be a doctor to hold such role. A key role of any manager is to be able to effectively , utilize and involve the skills of all personnel in that area through a respectful and collaborative effort. This approach can be applied to any of the other ministries.

  13. Advice to Concerned Student
    January 5, 2010

    Concerned Student you should be more concermed with your studies. Many managers in companies do not come into a company with 1st hand knowledge of the business. That is why the educational world is now offering degrees in BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. So that once you are an experienced manager you are supposed to be able to function any where and in any department.

    That’s why then the Ministry of Health will be staffed with competent students like you one day: in the likes of Secretaries, Messengers, Receptionists, IT, Nurses, Doctors, Family Planning Staff and most of all a FUNCTIONING HOSPITAL, and these are the people who wil be employed hands on to enable the day to day working of the health sector in Dominica.

    I think that Mr. Timothy with his skills can reform the Health Sector in Dominica.

    All we have to do is support the PM and his Cabinet and watch how Dominica will be taken to the next level before your very eyes.

    Note to Honorable Timothy, please make it mandatory for all employers to offer Medical Insurance for their staff, and also for School Children, as it is sadly lacking.

  14. Jayson
    January 5, 2010

    Julius Timothy couldn’t be more right.

    To ‘concerned student’: The technical skills come from the PS’ s, doctors, etc.

    Nobody manages in a vacume.

  15. January 5, 2010

    Why are you people so cantanquerous. A lot of you make comments out of spite. The government and public service is about team work. Im sure whenever Mr. Timothy needs assistance Justina and Darroux will be there to fully help. Even though ministers are given special areas to focus on, at the end it’s a team effort. A doctor goes to medical school to study about the human body. Most of them are lacking in business administration, so where medical advice is needed Justina, Darroux and other health officials will help. Chah!!! Give it a rest for once people.

  16. Concerned Student
    January 5, 2010

    I’m a student of the Dominica State College and i’ve studied management. Anyone who has studied management would know that every manager needs the technical skills required to run any enterprise properly.

    How can one manage and Information Technology firm if he knows nothing about Information Technology, how can a manager run a financial consulting firm if one knows nothing about finance and similarly how can one run a Ministry of health if he does not have any prior qualifications in health?

    An individual can’t manage EVERY enterprise efficiently and effectively because there are many variables which must be taken into consideration. For Mr. Timothy to suggest that he can manage the ministry of health without prior qualifications or experience in the health services sector is disingenuous.

  17. gwa bay
    January 5, 2010

    18 of 21 youcould not be more right than this. Justina and darroux should be working side by side in the ministry of health. Justina is like a doctor…she only doesnt have the degree. She is a veteran in the health department. A combination of she and darooux with his experience would be great for that department.

  18. 18 of 21
    January 5, 2010

    So what are you saying Mr. Timothy. Are you implying timothy, the Dr. is in your opinion unable to Manage that Ministry? Cuz if that is the case you getting me pissed. Stop your hypocrisy; you know ***well that you would rather be in a Ministry to do with Finance and Economics. But you … of high and mighty Roosevelt.

    What de hell u know about health; health and medicine are professions that you have to study for years…..jack about our health care system so don’t’ come and quote crap from who and think you fool us. If a reporter asks you a questions and anything to do with health ….That is what the DR has over you. Noone knows that system better than the people who have ben in it. Don’t you think the Dr knows the strengths and weaknesses in our system. Don’t u think he knows all the issues affecting health care workers. Don’t’ u think he knows the short coming and loop holes in the system. He knows where workers take advantage of the system; he knows what has to be done in that system.

    When the media asks u questions, answer but don’t’ go on implying you better suited for health than anybody in that cabinet especially Dr. If anyone in that cabinet can make an impact in Health care in Dominica, it would have to be the combined efforts of Justina Charles and Kenneth Darroux.

  19. Anonymous
    January 5, 2010

    sounds likek a plan. Hope it is followed through.

    but what are non-chronic communicable diseases??

  20. Great
    January 5, 2010

    Amen Honorable (I love how this sounds) Timothy

  21. BeeDee
    January 5, 2010

    I fully agree with Mr. Timothy. A Minister should be a Manager that is able to take control of the Office he is in charge of. He has the PS ( experts) that are there to advise him, and he ( The Minister) should makes sure that the polies are properly implemented.

  22. Leslie
    January 5, 2010

    Which nurses dat communicate with which patients behind d fence??? Stupes!!!! He is right in some aspects but i think dr d would have made a better minister of health in the area dat he has been there, done that and he understands better d health system!!! Oh and by d way since mr timothy is minister of health i would like him to explain to dominicians what is the importance of accident and emergency and dat people should not come to casualty for things dat are weeks or months old!!! Also i would like him to check out the primary health care system in dat most health centers are closed by 1pm!!! Good luck Mr timothy!!!

  23. January 5, 2010

    “One thinks that you have to be a doctor to take on the mantle as minister of health, but that is not even the case. It’s all about management and managing the system. We have a new hospital that has to be built and that has to be managed,”

    Julius Timothy is absolutely right. But, he better be prepared to be challenged by some in the medical profession who believe otherwise. I say this from my experience as former Hospital Administrator of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

  24. island gyal
    January 5, 2010

    I think the Ross Idea is a good one….He’s right though…It’s all about proper management.

  25. shabin
    January 5, 2010

    well said Tim Tim.

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