Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | September 28, 2009
Home : Lead Stories
De La Haye takes charge of Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ)
Athaliah Reynolds, Staff Reporter

De La Haye

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Winston De La Haye says he is ready to take on the challenges as he works to improve the quality of health care provided to Jamaicans in public institutions, as well as the image and reputation of medical professionals.

The renowned psychiatrist, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, was yesterday installed as president of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ). The installation took place during the organisation's annual general meeting at the University Hospital of the West Indies' main medical lecture theatre.

De La Haye replaces Dr Rosemarie Wright-Pascoe, who served as president for two years.

Among his main areas of focus, as outlined in his address yesterday, was a review of the current user-fee policy implemented by the Jamaica Labour Party administration shortly after it took office in 2007.

On the front line

"No one better understands our health challenges than our physicians and their patients," the MAJ president said. "We must encourage our government officials to listen to those on the front line."

He added: "We will be coming to you in the public service for a clear picture of the state of our 'free' health-care service. We will be your voice as we present scientific data for government officials in an attempt to influence their policy decisions."

The MAJ president said he also plans to engage the appropriate government officials in dialogue, including the ministers of health and finance, as well as the prime minister, as he lobbies for adequate budgetary support for health care.

De La Haye said an evaluation of the illnesses currently covered under the National Health Fund was also critical as many patients affected by a large number of chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, were still not covered.

De La Haye further said he was cognisant of the need for teamwork and called on the members of the MAJ to present a united front as they lobbied government officials on behalf of the doctors and patients of the country.

"I am aware that a number of you in recent time have been dissatisfied with some of the MAJ's activities. I encourage you to see adversity as a source of positive change. Now is the time to be united, the time to stay on the message. The MAJ needs you," he said.

Reclaim the respect

He also spoke very passionately about the present image and public perception of some of the island's doctors, arguing that it was important to reclaim the respect and trust of the public.

"How the public perceives us is critical. We cannot allow the weak links to damage our image," he said. "The time has come to renew a sense of pride and professionalism. We must pay attention to our reputation, our image, to build trust and in turn earn respect. I urge you to put our patient's needs first and to uphold the highest standards of clinical practice at all times."

Wright-Pascoe, immediate past president of the MAJ, said her two years spent at the helm of the organisation were both rewarding and challenging.

"I had the support of many of my colleagues. There were my detractors, but I learned from my detractors," she said.

She said the past executive was able to achieve some of its objectives; however, she admitted that there were some things they were not able to accomplish.


Home | Lead Stories | News | Sport | Commentary | Letters | Entertainment | Flair |