Tufton demands ‘cream of the crop’ for hospital security - Calls for high-quality guards as billion-dollar contracts signed
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is adamant that the Government is spending heavily on security to get value for money and has warned contract awardees that only the most competent personnel should be assigned to hospitals.
This assertion comes on the heels of the official signing of contracts yesterday to five security companies for health facilities in the South East Region Health Authority (SERHA).
“We want the cream of the crop in public health, we don’t want any and anybody,” he said, while highlighting that security companies employ thousands of people and provide a very valuable source of income beyond the security benefit that it gives.
Cabinet has approved contracts totalling $1.7 billion for the provision of security and related services at health facilities under the jurisdiction of SERHA for a period of three years.
The health authority has also ramped up security at maternity wards to reduce the risk of abductions of newborns in the wake of two such cases which sparked nationwide outrage early last year. The minister said that among the measures explored is restricting access to sensitive areas.
“Restricted access is very important, so whether that restricted access means more monitoring for visiting hours, electronic security through cameras, and swipe cards to access certain parts of a building … ,” he said.
Modern Investigations and Security Company Limited was awarded a contract for $436.6 million to provide services to Bustamante Hospital for Children, National Chest Hospital, Hope Institute, and Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre.
Shalk Electronic Security ($348.2 million) has been assigned to the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department and all health centres across the Corporate Area, while KingAlarm inked a deal for $355 million at the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee hospitals.
Marksman (Spanish Town Hospital, St Catherine Health Department, Linstead Hospital, and selected health centres across St Catherine, $382.8 million) and Atlas Protection (Princess Margaret Hospital, St Thomas Health Department, and selected health centres in St Thomas) also won contracts for $382.8 million and $193.5 million, respectively.
SERHA is responsible for the delivery of healthcare services to St Catherine, St Thomas, Kingston, and St Andrew.