Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Christopher Tufton, has assembled a working group to rectify the challenges the public and staff members have been facing at the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The decision was reached following a meeting yesterday and today with the hospital’s senior management, staff and environment experts. The technical experts have narrowed their focus on the potential causes of the issues being experienced and will over the next few days evaluate and map a way forward.
The working group has been tasked with investigating whether the current air duct system can be isolated and corrected or if an entirely new system needs to be designed and implemented. Dr. Tufton has requested that the committee meets daily if needed. The committee will coordinate with the Office of the Permanent Secretary.
“This is so that the working ground will have the legitimacy and full support of the central Ministry and by extension the Government of Jamaica to complete the work as soon as possible,” the Minister said while addressing the meeting.
“Whatever resources and support we need from external experts, locally or internationally, we will engage them on a needs basis.”
The working group comprises:
- Ken-Garfield Douglas – Regional Director, Western Regional Health Authority
- Anthony Smikle – CEO, Cornwall Regional Hospital
- Derrek Harvey – Acting Senior Medical Officer, Cornwall Regional Hospital
- Mark Kerr-Jarrett – Board Member, Western Regional Health Authority
- ESL Management Solutions Limited
- China Sinopharm
The current situation has been divided into three distinct areas: relocation, communication and restoration.
The issue is primarily limited to the hospital’s first three floors – 70 to 80% of which has been relocated. Some departments on those floors continue to be operational since they have not reported any of the symptoms others have experienced. Until a permanent solution is found, other plans continue to be in effect and they are as follow:
- A&E Trauma, triage and management of patients with green and yellow tickets have been relocated to the Mount Salem Health Centre
- Mount Salem clinics have been relocated to tents located on the grounds
- Asthma Bay patients/services have been relocated to the Mount Salem Health Centre
- Medical Record have been relocated to tents of the compound
- Laboratory services such as Chemistry, Microbiology, HIV and Phlebotomy will be relocated to retrofitted containers
- Limited x-rays (CT exams only) are being done on the third floor
- X-ray services being bought from Montego Bay Hospital and Hospiten
- OB-Gyn clinic/high risk clinics relocated off site to Barnett Clinic
Discussions are taking place with PAHO regarding about 10,000 square feet of tent space to be erected on the property adjacent to the hospital complex. This will allow for services be relocated in close proximity to the hospital. A more detailed plan will become available in the coming week.
With these changes that have been effected, the hospital is urging patients who are in doubt to call it’s Patient Care Representative line at 684-4041 for any additional information. Customer Care Representatives will also be on hand 24 hour at the hospital. The hospital will engage the public through signage on the hospital’s grounds and through the media to provide the most updated information.
Clients will experience delays and dislocations in the short term, but every effort is being made to ensure that emergencies and urgent cases are treated in a timely manner. The Ministry of Health in working with the Western Regional Health Authority and the Cornwall Regional Hospital will be diligent in restoring normalcy in the most critical areas in the shortest possible time at the hospital.
The working team will work with private contractors to determine the best path for the restoration of the facility. The Health Minister has urged that the restoration be done on a phased basis depending on the priority areas as outlined by the CRH. Special efforts are being made to restore the A&E department within the shortest possible time. It is anticipated that the long term solution could take three to six months. There is technical advisory support from the Urban Development Corporation and The Pan-American Health Authority.
Dr. Tufton has assured the staff and patients that their best interest is being considered and commended them for their patience while we chart the way forward.