Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Bellevue staff worry as attacks mount

Published:Tuesday | April 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
One of the derelict buildings being demolished at Bellevue Hospital, where robbers have been preying on health professionals.

Nurses at Bellevue Hospital in Kingston are left to fend off robbers and other malicious persons amid growing fears that their lives could be in danger following the attack on one of their own last week.

The incident, which occurred last Tuesday night, left staff members shaken after the ordeal. It has again raised the question of security at the island's largest mental-health facility spanning more than 100 acres, as nurses and support staff worry about their safety.

"So far this year, I am aware that student nurses have been attacked," a source told The Gleaner. "There have been other instances where workers have been attacked as well, and more recently, one nurse was pounced upon. This was last week and she had to fight them off. Luckily, she was not hurt," the source disclosed.

 

PROBLEM NOT NEW

 

"We have been having this problem for years now. It wasn't so bad after a while, but then they changed the security company due to some issues and then we found that men from the surrounding communities are once again coming on to the property," The Gleaner was told.

According to another source, the hospital's management knows of the concerns, as they are constantly being given reports of the dangers that lurk on the compound, especially at nights, where men lay in wait inside some of the derelict buildings for some unsuspecting person on which to prey.

"We have been told by the hospital's management that the reason for some of the security changes at the time was because they could no longer afford the high cost. But while that is so, it is primarily those of us working at nights that are in fear of being robbed or maybe injured or killed by these people," said a nurse who often works the late shift.

Repeated attempts to get a reaction from the hospital's CEO Latoya McFarlane proved futile, as she was said to be in meetings up to press time yesterday.

However, a visit to the hospital yesterday revealed workmen busily carrying out controlled demolition of at least one of the old buildings identified by the nurses as danger spots.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com