Sun | Mar 24, 2019

Tufton: More major repairs coming for Cornwall Regional Hospital

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas /Gleaner Writer
The Cornwall Regional Hospital.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that the ongoing restoration work at the problem-plagued Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, is set to intensify, with plans afoot to replace the 10-storey building's inner plumbing and electrical fittings and to fully repair the roof.

Tufton made the announcement while addressing a members' meeting of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday evening. He said that both aspects of the repair work should begin shortly at a cost of $500 million.

"Over the last few years, we have assessed and determined on a work programme to rehabilitate the Cornwall Regional Hospital that will see the roof being repaired to solve the leaking problem. A $100 million contract has been signed, and work is about to commence to start that process," said Tufton.

"It's going to cost us close to $400 million to gut the building, meaning to pull out almost every pipe, the electrics, and the whole ventilation system, which means going into the walls and disposing of materials in a way that is safe. We have done some gutting already, and we expect that to be completed over the next number of months. So if you take the gutting and the roof, that's $500 million, based on the technical assessment," he shared.

The scope of work needed to fully restore the Mt Salem-based Type A facility has expanded from the initial issue of a malfunctioning ventilation system, which came to light in late 2016 when several departments had to be relocated from the building's first three floors due to noxious fumes.

 

VENTILATION SYSTEM

 

The fumes were subsequently linked to the hospital's 20-year-old ventilation system, which had just been put back into operation at the time.

Concerning the ventilation system, Tufton told Wednesday's meeting that a new system had been purchased and is to be gradually installed at the hospital.

"The ventilation system had been ordered and is being built, but that has to be timed in the schedule of the rehabilitation, and that is a work in progress. Having gutted the building, we'll now have to redesign how the floors of the building will look," said Tufton.

Last August, an independent oversight body appointed by Tufton estimated that the Cornwall Regional Hospital should be fully operational by August 2019.