Tue | Jan 15, 2019

Hagley Park marks new chapter in primary health care

Published:Wednesday | July 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Beverley Graham (left) thanking Dr Christopher Tufton (second left), minister of health, and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (second right), who is the former member of parliament for South West St Andrew, for the new and improved Hagley Park Health Centre, at its official reopening yesterday. At right is Trecia Davis.

Medical officer in charge of the upgraded Hagley Park Health Centre, Dr Ilene Pearce Dennis, has welcomed the reopening of the facility as a long-overdue and well-needed improvement to the region's primary health-care delivery portfolio.

"The patients are very happy. They are overjoyed, and every time they come in, they say how much they appreciate the new facility, and the staff is also very happy to come back home," she told The Gleaner after yesterday's official opening ceremony.

Closed for rehabilitation in 2015, the health centre reopened three months ago, bringing great relief to residents of the 14 communities it serves. The medical officer in charge of the facility is still impressed with the improvements.

"I think it's the same space, but they have done so much with what they have that it looks so much different. You know the corridors are wider and the place just looks different and better," said Pearce Dennis.

One of the areas of improvements is the labelling of all treatment areas, which makes it easy for patients to access the specific health services they need.

During the two-year closure, patients usually served by the old health centre were reassigned to the Maxfield Park Health Centre, which inadvertently had an adverse effect on their health, as Pearce Dennis explained.




"The clients, most of the time, missed their appointments because of the difficulty getting bus fare to come to Maxfield. And they didn't really like the area, they were afraid, and the elderly,, in particular, had challenges getting there," she said.

Now with a vastly improved facility, which underwent renovations at a cost of $42 million from the coffers of the National Health Fund, the overall customer experience at the Hagley Park Health Centre is definitely on the upswing.

The nebulisation room now has a rehydration section for patients affected by gastro-enteritis and other such ailments. With too-often flare-ups of fires at the Riverton City dump and seasonal allergies, the staff is now better equipped to handle the usually heavy flow of persons with sinus, asthma, and other respiratory problems.

Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, the Type Three health centre is now much better staffed and equipped to handle the estimated 30,000 clients it sees each year.