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Gov't considering public-private partnership to provide housing for health workers

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, says a public/private partnership proposal, is being examined for the construction of accommodations for healthcare professionals at certain locations.

Tufton explained that such an arrangement will require the injection of funds from an investor to develop the housing facilities.

“So we would secure private participation in the financing and building of the accommodations with a long-term financing arrangement that would see the lease payments by the tenants occupying the facility,” he said.

The health minister was speaking ahead of a tour at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, St Thomas, on Friday.

Tufton pointed out that he will begin examination of the proposal in the coming weeks.

He noted that the St Thomas-based hospital, with its 26-acres of land, is an ideal location that could benefit from this arrangement, in addition to other areas, “as housing is a big issue for healthcare professionals”.

The sentiment was also shared by Senior Medical Officer (SMO) for the facility, Dr Cecil Batchelor, who said staff members were lost periodically due to the absence of housing.

“I have 16 doctors and of that number, I think 13 of them live in Kingston. Whenever we have a disaster pending, such as a hurricane, I have to find ways of housing them so that I have enough doctors in case we get cut-off because we do from time-to-time. So housing is very important,” he said.

Meanwhile, addressing other issues, Tufton said he would be examining the needs of the hospital for more incubators for newborns as well as the reasons for the delay in completion in the expansion of the accident and emergency building.

The expansion project is said to cost approximately $143million.

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