Risk in the BVI
At the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Health Services Authority (HSA), there is a risk manager who is responsible for spearheading their new risk management programme. Managing Director Dr Samuel sits on the risk management committee, which is made up of senior administrators for the whole authority, and together they target staff across the board, explaining what risk management is and each staff member’s role in the process.
Dr Nancy Boodhoo, MPS’s Head of Operations (Caribbean and Bermuda), helped them get this programme off the ground, and to put in place an incident reporting system to help manage risk.
Dr Samuel said: “Dr Boodhoo helped us put staff at ease about reporting incidents as they were a bit sceptical at first about what the implications would be. She said to avoid making it mandatory to report; instead taking a different approach – ensuring staff know how much of an issue it is if you don’t report a concern.”
The team have also developed an open disclosure policy that they are about to roll out to all staff, covering how the HSA manages significant adverse outcomes and how it is important for doctors to apologise and admit when they’ve done something wrong. They have a team set up that will respond and manage incidents within a specific timeframe.
Dr Samuel and the team are looking at budgeting and financing and ways of increasing efficiencies within the organisation. They are working on a number of initiatives to ensure doctors and nurses have the resources they need – one option is a procurement arrangement with another organisation to save on costs.
Over the last five or six years in the BVI they have received more documented complaints, but Dr Samuel thinks this is partly due to the fact they have a system in place whereby if a patient isn’t happy with their service they can complain. In order to improve their services, the HSA has been having community meetings in order to get feedback from people in the different communities about the standard of local healthcare.
Dr Samuel wants to see a shift from the doctors seeing themselves as independent providers to them being team players who provide a service together.
“With the shift focusing on quality and patient safety especially, it can’t be a one-man show anymore; it has to be a team approach. We need to see the patient as a customer who we are serving and who has a right to indicate what type of care they would like to get.”
Words by Charlotte Hudson
Interviews conducted by Sarah Whitehouse and Rachel Seddon
With thanks to Dr J Eltora Bennett, Managing Director of CariGES Inc in Barbados, and Dr June Samuel, Managing Director of the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority.