Reward for effort, innovation and courage

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — For Gary Smith, AC technician at Mandeville Regional Hospital, it was the “best feeling ever”.

He was referring to his recent award as runner-up in the Maintenance Personnel of the Year category at a ceremony to honour Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) staff.

A news release reported Smith as saying he had worked at many places previously but this was the first time he could remember being awarded for outstanding work.

Smith, employed to Mandeville Regional since 2015, was recognised in particular for his innovativeness in restoring a walk-in freezer which had not worked for several years.

The AC technician said that after taking the job he toured the hospital to identify its maintenance needs and was informed of the walk-in freezer, which was important for storing meats and other perishables used to prepare meals for hundreds of patients. He decided that there were two options: get a new system, which was costly, or replace the defective compressor in the old system.

The latter choice was preferable but challenging because a compressor with the required specifications could not be sourced.

Smith was not deterred. Instead, he got to work.

“I rewired the entire control and support circuit while getting a replacement compressor which suited the new wiring. Most of the repair was carried out using parts and materials that were at the hospital. The repair cost was a mere fraction of what a new system would have cost,” Smith said.

SRHA Director of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations Nicolette Thomas Edwards said innovative, cost-saving work, as had been carried out by Smith, and the hard work and achievements of health care workers have led to an increase in staff members being awarded and recognised over the last few years.

Such staff recognition had led to improved performances, more selfless efforts, and more targets being met by workers, she said.

Supporting the link between staff recognition and the employees' productivity, Smith encouraged the SRHA to continue on this path, describing it is a good way to motivate staff and boost morale.

Thomas Edwards noted that health care staff members are often faced with dangerous situations. She pointed to gallantry at Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth when Damion Christopher and Craigan Mundy rescued a colleague from a psychiatric patient who was armed with a knife. Though Christopher and Mundy were injured in the incident, their quick and selfless response averted a dangerous situation. These employees, in addition to more than 70 others, were awarded by the St Elizabeth Health Services on March 23.

The Percy Junor Hospital in north-east Manchester recognised more than 40 employees on March 21, while SRHA awarded 16 drivers and maintenance personnel on March 22.

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