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CRH 'will be a work in progress for a while', says Tufton

Saturday, November 18, 2017

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HEALTH Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says work to improve the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, St James, is progressing, with certain areas to be completed soon.

The areas include two operating theatres and a diagnostic facility. There will also be the replacement of outdated equipment, and an expanded accident and emergency section.

“We're going to see a few other things done to allow access to parts of the building, and it is going to be phased gradually until you get to a full completion, which, I suspect strongly, will go beyond the first quarter of next year,” he said.

The minister was speaking at the launch of the Health Ministry's second quarterly publication dubbed 'Vitals', at his New Kingston offices on Thursday.

He added that the CRH “will be a work in progress for a while, but will be utilised as we complete particular phases”.

The ongoing works at the CRH has also spurred improvement works to other hospitals in neighbouring parishes.

They include the Savanna-la-Mar General Public Hospital in Westmoreland, the Falmouth General Public Hospital in Trelawny, and the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover.

“I was at Noel Holmes (Hospital) recently, and we opened up a new water-treatment facility; two wards were upgraded, and a new administrative block (established). In Trelawny, we are now constructing a new area for 20 additional beds; we're renovating additional operating theatres, and at Savanna-La-Mar, we are now looking at putting… a piped oxygen [system] into the building,” he said.

Dr Tufton informed that he is expecting ground to be broken at the CRH early next year for the Western Regional Children's Hospital.

A team led by Director of Emergency Services in the Ministry, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie, is currently in China reviewing the final technical specifications of the building to ensure an expedited process.

“I am hoping that by the end of that we would have agreed sufficiently to conclude on what the structure will look like,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Tufton informed that a contract has been signed with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) with a view to upgrading the Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine from a Type B hospital to a Type A.

Hospitals designated as Type B provide primary- and secondary-care services, including inpatient and outpatient services in general surgery, general medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, and anaesthetics. X-ray and laboratory services are usually available.

Type A hospitals, on the other hand, are facilities that provide comprehensive secondary and tertiary health care services and are the final referral points for public and private hospitals.

'Vitals', first presented during Dr Tufton's 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives in May, is being produced in the interest of transparent and accountable governance.

It provides important data to the public on the performance of the health sector and acts as a tool of performance accountability for the individuals and processes responsible for the delivery of public health in Jamaica.

The second edition of Vitals, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament in short order, examines health trends and health statistics in Jamaica related to surgeries conducted in 17 of 24 hospitals, health-facility utilisation, diagnostics and health-sector complaints, among other areas.

— JIS

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