Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Nurses protest as vent woes resurface at CRH

Published:Wednesday | June 28, 2017 | 6:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

Noxious fumes that have left Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay operating below capacity since the start of the year resurfaced yesterday when several nurses called in sick.

"Despite what has been said, the situation remains problematic, so we are doing what we are doing to draw attention to the situation," a nurse, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner yesterday. "As far as I am concerned, we still have a big problem."

However, when Anthony Smikle, the hospital's chief executive officer, was contacted about the stance taken by the nurses, he downplayed the reports. While agreeing that several nurses had called in sick, he said the hospital was still operating at standard capacity.

 

NOT A WIDE-SCALE SICK-OUT

 

"The hospital is running normally in terms of the additional arrangements we have made," said Smikle. "There is one department where some of the nurses have not turned up to work, and I am in the process of collecting all the information, but it is nothing like a wide-scale sick-out or anything like that."

Reports surfaced on Tuesday morning that a number of nurses were calling in sick because of noxious fumes at the 400-bed Type A hospital, which has been afflicted by ventilation problems since January.

The noxious fumes that have affected normal operations at the CRH are said to be the result of fibreglass particles from the ventilation system coming loose during efforts to clean the system when the problem first arose late last year. This was discovered following tests by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization.

The ventilation issue has resulted in the shutting down of the hospital's first three floors. However, the replacement system will not be completed until September 2018.