Mon | Dec 17, 2018

1-yr wait for Cornwall Regional Hospital to be fully operational

Published:Friday | August 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris/ Gleaner Writer
From left: Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa and Professor Dr Archibald McDonald addressing a press briefing regarding the Cornwall Regional Hospital Rehabilitation Project yesterday.

The public has to wait another year or more before they can fully access the services provided by the St James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), which has been plagued by air-quality problems for the last two years.

It is estimated that the hospital should be fully operational by August 2019, according to members of an independent oversight committee for the rehabilitation of the hospital, which was established by Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton in May of this year.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry of Health yesterday, chairman of the committee, Professor Archibald McDonald, said that the problems at the hospital were not simple, however, a project management team was now in place and the office being established for this team was 75 per cent complete.

"Initially, they will have to determine the scope of the work and also to cost it," he said.

"I want to make it clear that any timeline that is given is an approximation. But one thing I can assure you is that when this project is finished, the mould problem will be solved [and] the air-quality issues will be solved," McDonald stated.

Several of the services offered at the Type A hospital were relocated to safeguard the health and safety of patients and staff. The main building at the hospital remains closed.

"A hospital is a very complicated entity. It is not like building a house, where you put up the structure and you put in your kitchen. It is far more problematic than that," said McDonald.

"Pardon us if even that timeline, which I gave you, next year, is not met. We are going to try hard to meet that timeline, but please excuse us if it is not met," the professor requested.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Sancia Bennett Templer said that a construction contractor had not yet been selected because the design was still being finalised.

"What we have in place at this time is a structural engineering firm first doing an assessment and the design work," she said.

The permanent secretary said that the rehabilitation work would go beyond just restoring the hospital. Instead, the opportunity would be used to expand areas such as accident and emergency and to replace the entire fifth floor, which houses the operating theatre suite.