Customer Contact Centre – ACTIVITY REPORT FOR JULY 2017

During July, its first full month of operation, the Ministry of Health & Medical Services’ Customer Contact Centre handled almost 1,000 calls, emails and text messages from members of the public.
The main areas of concern raised by those who contacted the centre related to staff attitudes or perceived delays and long waits for attention, which together accounted for 23 per cent of the calls received. The next largest group of calls were those where the caller considered their treatment was ‘unsatisfactory’ (four per cent of the total).
Those figures have been noted by the Ministry and, while it is still too early to identify any real patterns or trends in the data, they provide a useful basis on which to monitor future performance. Where possible, additional information on callers’ actual waiting times and the reasons why they considered their treatment to be unsatisfactory will also be obtained. Such concerns may stem from inadequate explanations by staff or unrealistic expectations on the part of patients: both areas where better communication could help.
The Customer Contact Centre received compliments on services delivered in several facilities including Nadi, Navua and Wainibokasi Hospitals and Valelevu, Dreketi, Raiwaqa, Cuva, Natabua, Balevuto and Nasea Health Centres. There were also a significant number of calls (around one in four) which did not relate to health services or where the caller simply hung up without speaking. Those calls may be a result of people wanting to test out the new service or being unfamiliar with its operation. They will, hopefully, reduce over time.
By the end of the month all but a handful of the issues raised by callers had been satisfactorily resolved with the overall average time taken to deal with an issue and respond to the caller being less than 2½ days.
In a typical month more than 80,000 people attend the Ministry’s hospitals and health centres as inpatients or outpatients. The total number of complaints registered by the Customer Contact Centre in July was fewer than 350 which represents just 0.4 per cent or one in every 250 patients.

Update on infection outbreak at Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva

On 21 June 2017, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (Ministry) alerted the public of four (4) deaths within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Suva’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH). As of 11 July, a further two (2) deaths have occurred within the NICU.

The NICU is a specialist unit which provides intensive care to ill or premature infants born at CWMH, the national referral hospital of Fiji. Many of the infants who are cared for in this unit suffer significant pre-existing illnesses such as compromised immune systems.
The presence of the multidrug resistant bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii, was detected by CWMH laboratory services in samples obtained from NICU patients. This bacterium is commonly found in hospital settings and hospital patients around the world. Whilst the bacterium poses very little risk to healthy people, it can be a significant health risk to those with compromised immune systems.
A similar outbreak of this bacterium occurred within the NICU at CWMH between December 2016 and March 2017.

The Ministry and WHO are working together closely with CWMH’s clinicians and Infection Prevention and Control team to respond to this current outbreak and ensure the safety of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients.

As part of the immediate response, CWMH has increased surveillance in the hospital to support early response to new cases of infection; enhanced screening and infection precautions of all new admissions to the hospital and the NICU; and intensified its infection prevention and control measures.

A specialist team has also been deployed by WHO to Fiji to work with CWMH to try and identify a source of the bacteria, in addition to reviewing current infection prevention and control practices within CWMH and, as a further preventive measure, also examine practices in Lautoka and Lambasa hospitals. Based upon their findings, this team will be providing recommendations for ensuring that the hospitals’ current processes are appropriate, and adequate systems are in place to ensure the delivery of quality clinical care and patient safety.

Whilst a common source of the bacteria has not been found, this is not unusual as sources are only identified in 50% of all outbreaks reported globally. As sustained elimination of multidrug resistant bacteria in hospitals is extremely difficult, enhanced prevention, surveillance and early intervention measures are critical to preventing the infection of individual patients and consequent outbreaks.

The Ministry and WHO will continue to provide updates to the public on this issue.