SMMC audit executive summary being compiled

CAY HILL–Authorities are busy compiling an executive summary of the independent operational audit conducted at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) earlier this year.

When asked for details of the audit, Health Minister Emil Lee told The Daily Herald that it is “too premature” to release the details at this stage, but said an executive summary is being prepared and this will be made public. The executive summary is expected to be completed within a few weeks, said Lee, who said he received the findings a few weeks ago.

“It’s a very constructive report. At this stage we are still in discussions on how we can translate the report,” the Minister said, adding that the report is not to grade SMMC, but rather addresses issues such as governance, structure and protocols, etc.

“It will serve as a basis for our discussions to improve our cooperation and the next step is to translate that into an action plan and that is what we will make public. We will take the recommendations from the report, we will make an executive summary and then we will also arrive at an action plan and that’s where we want to focus.”

Lee had announced in early February that he had asked the Inspectorate of the Netherlands IGZ to conduct the independent audit on SMMC. The intention of the audit was to examine several areas at the medical facility including governance in relation to quality of care and patient safety; quality management at SMMC with key indicators being calamities, complaints, protocols, proper PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle, etc.; patient safety; competence and functioning of specialists and divisions and inspection of SMMC’s Operating Theatre (OR), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and its dialysis facilities and blood bank.

“We recognise the need for a new hospital. This is only part of our healthcare system,” Lee told this newspaper in an interview. “We want to make sure that when we get a new hospital that we also get a healthcare system that functions properly,” he noted. “There has been some tension in particular between the Inspectorate and SMMC and this is a tension that I think has been there for many, many years, from 2012 when they had their original audit.

“Part of the reason for the study is to ensure that we get the discussions and cooperation and dialogue back and rebuilding communications and trust between all stakeholders and that includes the Ministry and the Inspectorate and the hospital and also pharmacists and general practitioners. All of that is part of the discussions, but in particular with SMMC and the Ministry to make sure that we get it on a constructive path and this is what the report was about.”

Source: The Daily Herald