Health Minister reports progress at Cornwall Regional Hospital

Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, this morning addressed the weekly staff meeting of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) to update the staff on the efforts to correct the air quality issues at the hospital. The Minister was fulfilling his commitment to regularly visit the staff and the hospital.

The Minister reiterated that the issue is being given high priority and assured them that he or another senior technocrat from Central Ministry will always be on the ground. Dr. Tufton outlined to the staff that the three-pronged approached (relocation, communication and rehabilitation) that he announced in early February is still in effect.

As it relates to rehabilitation, a representative from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is on the ground and is managing the contracting of services from local and international firms. Six engineering firms have been shortlisted and given tender documents requesting the cost to design a new system. The selected firm will be given about three months to complete a design. The Minister pointed out the suppliers will also be allowed another three months to procure the items.

Dr. Tufton also told the staff that while the work is being done on the ventilation system, tender documents will also be prepared for other areas of work on the hospital’s main building. The expanded scope of the work will include upgrading the piping and electrical systems. Diagnostics services will also be addressed and will include replacing the X-ray machines and replacing them with digital diagnostic technologies. The Health Minister also said the clearing of the hospital offers an opportunity to modern that CRH’s work flow.

Relocation of the hospital’s services continue. The West Jamaica Conference is being retrofitted to accommodate at least six additional clinics. These should become within the coming week. A 5000 sq. ft. tent from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has arrived in the island and should be on the hospital grounds within days. The reroofing exercise at the Falmouth Hospital continues in earnest. Items are being transferred there to outfit an operation theatre. The aim is to limit the number of surgeries being done at CRH.

The Minister reiterated that the communication channels between the hospital, staff and the public are ongoing. The staff will continue to be updated to through their staff meetings, heads of department, union representatives, notice boards and emails. The hospital has constant public outreach through signage, newspapers placements and radio spots. 

The Minister thanked the staff for their patients and assured them that their wellbeing remains paramount during this period.