Wed | Nov 21, 2018

More problems rocking CRH as fallout deepens - Nurses call in sick, more services being relocated

Published:Friday | March 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater
Winston De La Haye

Western Bureau:

As the Government continues to scramble in its bid to properly manage the fallout caused by the ongoing problems plaguing the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, more services are being transferred from the hospital to other facilities in the parish.

In a release from the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday, it was disclosed that the transfer of service from the hospital to other facilities is primarily designed to ensure access to health care for residents in western Jamaica.

"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 release stated. "This strategy aims to safeguard the health of staff and patients and ensure continuity of care to residents in the area."

However, it is likely that any use of the hospital could be problematic as yesterday, nurses, some of whom have been affected by the noxious fumes, which has caused the problem at the hospital, called in sick, leaving the manning of the hospital to student nurses and doctors.

"I understand a number of nurses, maybe 33 per cent of the capacity, did not turn up for work," Dr Winston De La Haye, chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, told The Gleaner yesterday. "It is a surprise to me, considering we had an emergency meeting yesterday where we discussed the operation at Cornwall, which involves primarily the Ministry of Health taking command and control of the situation, implementing an emergency operations centre reporting directly to the central ministry through myself, the permanent secretary, and the minister."


50 per cent of services relocated


In outlining the status of the ongoing relocation of operation of the CRH, the MOH stated that approximately 50 per cent of the services previously offered there have now been relocated. Some of the earlier action included the relocation of:

- Accident and emergency, triage, and management of patients with 'green' and 'yellow' tickets to the Mt Salem Health Centre

- Medical and surgical clinics and physiotherapy to West Jamaica Conference Centre

- Maternal and child health to the Emmanuel Chapel, Vernon's Drive, Mt Salem

- Obstetrics and gynaecology clinics to the Barnet Clinic off Cottage Road (the Clock)

- Mental health services to the Holy Trinity Church, Miriam Way.

The MOH said that other relocations would be made to the Western Jamaica Conference Centre, which is already being heavily used.


...Surgeries being transferred to other hospitals

The fifth floor at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) is to be isolated and cleaned to re-establish operating-theatre and intensive-care services to the western region of the island in the shortest possible time. Alternative access to these areas is being created to minimise exposure to affected areas.

- The Falmouth Hospital operating theatre suite to be commissioned immediately to facilitate elective surgeries.

- New operating theatres at Falmouth Hospital is to be opened in approximately two weeks to facilitate elective and urgent surgeries.

- University Hospital of the West Indies is to facilitate surgeries for critically ill neurosurgery patients.

- Orthopaedic surgeries are to be facilitated at Savanna-la-Mar Hospital.

The release also noted that safe space has been found on other buildings on the hospital's compound to house approximately 200 beds. The space is now being renovated to ensure readiness in short order.


Special staff clinic


Regarding the situation with the nurses who are calling in sick, De La Haye said that there was an appreciation that the situation at the CRH was not wholesome and that persons were being negatively affected.

"We appreciate that we have an environment where persons are reporting symptoms. We appreciate the complaints, which is why over a week ago, we established a special staff clinic where persons affected, including nurses, could attend outside of the regular casualty setting," said De La Haye. "... let us hope that with the information we are imparting now to the nurses, that that will lead to normalcy sooner rather than later. We don't want anyone to continue, whether nurse, physical, health-care worker, or patient, to have to complain."