BY BALFORD HENRY & HORACE HINES Friday, March 03, 2017
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has disclosed that operations at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay are to be reduced by 90 per cent over the next three to four weeks.
In a statement to the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, which was meeting last night at Gordon House, Tufton said that while the problems at the hospital have reoccurred over the years, they were at a stage that requires attention.
Tufton’s statement came as the crisis at the hospital deepened yesterday after a third of the nursing staff reported sick and failed to turn up for work.
|Cornwall Regional Hospital|
The Jamaica Observer was unable to establish the full complement of the nursing staff at the western region’s only tertiary hospital, but Tufton told this newspaper that all efforts are being made to manage the treatment of patients with the available medical personnel. “Some of them have called in sick but we are trying to cope under the circumstances,” Tufton said during a telephone interview yesterday.
“We tried to mobilise the existing medical staff that we have to do what is necessary for the patients, and we will continue to do so as we try to resolve the issue,” he said.
Tufton noted that only yesterday he responded to a letter from the president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ).
“I got a letter from the president on Tuesday. I returned a letter of response this morning,” Dr Tufton said. “It was not a hostile letter, it was just some inquiries and some suggestions.”
Hospital workers have been complaining that exposure to noxious fumes, believed to be escaping from the ventilation system, poses a health threat.
The fumes have resulted in a temporary termination of all out-patient operations on the three lower floors of the 43-year-old hospital.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health said in a release that approximately 50 per cent of services previously offered at the main hospital building have been relocated and relocation efforts are continuing.
“The aim is to scale down operations at the main CRH building, which will only be utilised for emergency services and other services such as radiology, which cannot readily be relocated until renovation and cleaning can be completed,” the ministry said. “This strategy aims to safeguard the health of staff and patients and ensure continuity of care to residents in the area.”
The services have been relocated to alternative facilities at nearby locations, to alternative premises and temporary facilities on the hospital compound and to nearby hospitals.
Additional major relocations will take place during the course of next week, the ministry said. more