Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Lab work could be scaled back at CRH ­ - CEO Smikle

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 1:56 AMChristopher Thomas
Dr Anthony Smikle, CEO of Cornwall Regional Hospital

WESTERN BUREAU:

Following Monday’s strike action by laboratory technicians at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, Anthony Smikle, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said discussions are under way as to whether to scale back operations in the affected department and seek assistance from other hospitals.

“Today, they (technicians) returned to work, but we are trying to determine the level of services that we will be providing,” Smikle told The Gleaner yesterday. “That is what we are looking at now, to scale back some of what we do, and to see if we can make some alternative arrangements with some of the other hospitals to support us. So we are doing emergency tests and critical [work], but we are not back to the full workload.”

CRAMPED SPACES

He continued, “We met with them (technicians) and their union reps in the afternoon on Monday, and then they decided to come back to work today, and so we are working out the level of operations that we are moving forward with. We know the space they have to go back into is confined, and it is not ideal, but a number of other departments had to work in similarly cramped spaces and they have been relocated.”

The laboratory technicians walked off the job on Monday, citing unhealthy and unsafe working conditions as well as cramped working conditions, and had threatened not to return to work until the hospital’s management addressed their concerns quickly.

In the meantime, Tony Hart, chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, said that while a number of logistical issues at the hospital have been addressed, there is still work that needs to be completed.

“The problems have been 80 per cent fixed, but there are areas that still need work to be done, which we are having done,” said Hart. “The ventilation issue was a big problem, and we had set up places outside to treat patients, under tents and such things, but it is getting less and less so as we deal with the problems.”

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com