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Cornwall Regional Hospital on the rebound, three floors to be ready soon

Published:Wednesday | May 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Cornwall Regional Hospital


Three floors at the problem-plagued Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, are slated to be reopened within two weeks, as rehabilitation work to correct faulty ventilation, which all but caused a complete shutdown of the 400-bed facility, is now progressing briskly.

"Currently, the fourth, fifth and sixth floors, which house our operating theatres and ICU (intensive-care unit) are being refurbished and cleaned so that we can reoccupy those areas," said Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

"We are doing a complete rehabilitation of those areas, specifically in light of the fact that we have found mould there. Those are targeted for reoccupation within five to 10 days."

According to Douglas, special emphasis is being placed on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors because, since they are the epicentre for critical services, this area is being given priority attention.

"Those are the areas that are presently being rehabilitated for occupation in two weeks' time. It doesn't mean that patients are going to be there, as the operating theatre and ICU are a one-time thing," noted Douglas.


Services at the hospital were significantly scaled down early this year after the ventilation system began emitting noxious fumes, which affected the operations on the hospital's first three floors. As a result, some of the services were transferred to makeshift locations on the compound as well as to the adjoining West Jamaica Conference Centre.

Following investigations carried out by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it was discovered that the fumes were the result of fibreglass particles from the ventilation system becoming loose after being disturbed by efforts to clean the vents.

In regards to the rehabilitation work on the first three floors of the hospital, Douglas said the projection is that those areas will not be ready before September next year.

"For sure, the first, second and third floors, which have been targeted for re-establishing a new heating and ventilation system, are not going to be ready soon," said Douglas. "Our estimated time for that is September 2018. That system was contaminated, and we have decided to replace that whole system."