Prime Minister Embarks On Series Of Meetings With Ministers And Senior Officials Following Recent Cabinet Reshuffle

PR Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has  embarked on a series of meetings with Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other senior  ministry officials, in the wake of the recently announced Cabinet reshuffle. 

The Prime Minister met Thursday with top officials of the Ministry of Health and charged  the team to work together to bring about the best possible health care for the people of  Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. 

For the first time, the Ministry of Health will have two Ministers – Honourable Nickolas  Steele maintains responsibility for Health and Social Security while Honourable Delma  Thomas will have specific responsibility for Hospital Services, in addition to being the  Minister of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment. There will also  be two Permanent Secretaries. 

Dr. Mitchell outlined some of his expectations given the new construct of the ministry but  he welcomed feedback and suggestions from the health officials. 

He said, “The change is a bold decision; it can work very well or it may require further  change but what is important is that we cooperate and collaborate to give the new  construct a chance to work. Government has a fundamental responsibility to provide the  best healthcare possible. If at present, we say we are satisfied with the current level of  healthcare, we are doing a disservice to our people. There are weaknesses in the system  and we must be prepared to make the necessary changes to generate the improvements  we wish to see. The entire team must make an effort so that we have the best opportunity  at success. This is a bold step in the right direction and collaboration and communication  must be seen as critical keys to this success.” 

The Prime Minister described healthcare as a matter of life and death, which is often one  of the most contentious issues in any country. 

Dr. Mitchell said, “Decision-making must be patient-oriented, transparent, timely and  consistent with the overall direction of Government’s policies. People will respect you for  making decisions that are fair and balanced. We must plan aggressively, implement  efficiently and problem-solve quickly. Our goal is to build a healthcare system that is more  focused on patient-care that is equitable, accessible, affordable and sustainable for  current and future generations.” 

All health officials present voiced support for the new direction of the ministry and  committed to working together to achieve the desired outcomes.  

Minister Steele said the approach is revolutionary and encouraged the team to take both  individual and collective responsibility to make it work. Minister Thomas promised to bring  her passion and drive to the area of Hospital Services and to be a champion for  improvement. 

Improved customer service and communication were among the areas cited for much needed improvement. It was noted that the majority of complaints received focused on  these areas, rather than the actual medical care provided to patients. 

The issue of adequate staffing was also discussed and the Prime Minister suggested that  this be addressed through service contracts rather than bloating the public service. He  said, “We have to consider the holistic development of the system. This is not only about  the needs of one particular ministry; it is not about politics; it is about good management  practices that help to ensure good governance and long-term sustainability of the entire  system.” 

The Prime Minister’s meeting with the various Ministers and senior ministry officials will  continue in the run-up to the Ministers assuming their new portfolios on October 5, 2020. 

There will also be changes to the assignment of Permanent Secretaries. An official  announcement of this will be forthcoming.