Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson is appealing for calm after protesters set fire to an ambulance and damaged a building on the compound of the Savanna-La-Mar General Hospital in Westmoreland.
This followed an incident in which two persons were shot and killed Friday night in a nearby community.
The Minister is in touch with the Board and Management of the Western Regional Health Authority under whose management the hospital falls and is being kept abreast of the situation. The hospital is now offering limited service in its Accident and Emergency Department as staff has been affected by the unrest.
While expressing condolences to the family of the deceased persons, Dr. Ferguson urged community members to allow health workers to go about their normal duties so that they can continue to assist those in need of care.
“Our health staff should not be in fear of their safety from the very persons they have committed their lives to help. We have to also respect hospital property and the tools and equipment that we need to save lives,” Dr. Ferguson said.
Dr. Ferguson has authorized the chairman of the Board of WRHA to put in place special transportation arrangements for staff during this special period.
He is encouraging persons who may have witnessed the incident to give their full cooperation to the investigators. Dr. Ferguson also thanked the Jamaica Fire Brigade for its swift response in putting out the fire and therefore preventing damage to other property at the hospital.
Dr. Ferguson has undertaken to have dialogue with the Minister of National Security to ensure that the security of the hospital and staff is enhanced.