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WRHA to tackle ‘unwanted patients’ issue at CRH

Published:Thursday | April 21, 2016 | 4:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Businessman Tony Hart, the chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), says the troubling matter of patients refusing to leave the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) after being discharged is to be addressed by his administration.

"Concerning the people who just stay there at the hospital and they do not need care, it is on the agenda to be looked at ... we want to see how we can solve it," Hart said in an interview with The Gleaner.

The more than 30 patients, who have decided to stay on at the hospital and benefit from the free food and accommodation on offer, after being given the green light to go home, has become a major concern as they are occupying beds needed by really ill persons.

"There are a number of ways to address the matter," said Hart. "For example, do the persons have families? Do we have to send them to another home? But it is certainly something we are going to look at in detail, and I have it down already to discuss."

LESS THAN IDEAL

When the 'unwanted patients' issue first came to the fore in 2014, Calvin G. Brown, the former chairman of the WRHA, said the situation was putting a strain on the institution as, while really ill persons were being kept in less-than-ideal conditions in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department awaiting a bed on the ward, healthy persons were occupying the much-needed beds.

"We agonise over it daily, but we simply can't throw out these people ... you know what the backlash would be," said Brown, who noted that some of the unwanted patients have been abandoned by their families.

"We initiated discussion with the St James Parish Council about moving them to the St James Infirmary, but there is no space there to accommodate."

While the healthy unwanted patients are enjoying the free ride on the hospital's wards, the staff at the A&E Department is left at the mercy of irate family members who regularly abuse them for their inability to find beds to accommodate their ill relatives.