Black River clinic will redefine universal healthcare – Tufton
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the recently renovated and expanded Black River Health Centre in St Elizabeth will provide stakeholders in the health sector with a unique opportunity to redefine universal access to healthcare.
Speaking against the background that persons with minor matters tend to bypass the health centre, which offers primary healthcare, and clog hospital waiting rooms, Tufton said the Black River Hospital would easily reroute patients to the health centre right across the road.
“What the evidence is showing is that up to 40 per cent of the people who go to A&E (Accident and Emergency) who go across to that building (the hospital) really ought to come over here to get the service they require. So what the opportunity created here has allowed us to do is to engage in a process of management, which allows us to triage and say, ‘You are not walking very far. It is just across the road’.”
The clinic, which attended to more than 19,000 patients last year, was renovated and expanded at a cost of J$11.4 million. It is designed to serve a population of 16,000 people drawn from communities such as Black River, Arlington, Vineyard, Middle Quarters, Fyffes Pen, Prospect, Ginger Hill, Springfield, New Market, among others.
The facility, which has a staff complement of 38, offers healthcare in maternal and child health, dental care, nutrition, environmental health, and mental health, among other areas.
The health centre, which began expanded hours for curative services on April 1, saw the scope of work for the renovation and expansion covering 1,500 square feet of space. It now features an expanded waiting area of 600 square feet, a porte ochère and two offices.
Wayne Chen, chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority, hailed the expansion of the clinic, noting that it would improve primary health care in St Elizabeth.
“Sustainable improvement in healthcare has been made mostly possible by primary healthcare. The expansion of the hours and the services offered at the Black River Health Centre will have a great and profound impact on healthcare,” said Chen.