Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Port Maria gets temporary health centre facility

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMOrantes Moore

PORT MARIA, St Mary:

Last week, the North East Regional Authority (NERHA) launched a temporary building for the health centre in Port Maria, St Mary, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the new facility.

During the ceremony, NERHA Chairman Tyrone Robinson noted that a population increase in the town had inspired the organisation to open negotiations with the National Health Fund about the construction of a new hospital, which would include a housing facility for technical medical staff, and upgrades to the accident and emergency, medical records, and X-ray departments.

Speaking with Rural Xpress after the tour, Robinson rejected claims the temporary health centre, which cost $6 million and took three months to build, was a waste of money, and insisted that NERHA is working hard to streamline health-care services throughout St Mary, St Ann, and Portland.

He said: "The health centre is very temporary because we needed the space immediately, and in another year or year and a half or so, we will be starting to scope and design a new hospital with a health clinic at the bottom of the hill. This temporary facility is important because the facility we had before was very small and needed updating, and the throughput for the patients wasn't fast enough.

"It's the vision of the Minister [of Health Dr Christopher Tufton] to make sure patients get their services very quickly, and without this temporary facility, we wouldn't have that sort of service. In the scheme of things, $6 million to maintain and keep the lives of our people going is nothing. We are spending the money in the right way."

Robinson was appointed NERHA chairman in March 2016 and has worked for many years as campaign manager for his wife, Shahine, the minister of labour and social security, and member of parliament for North East St Ann.

 

A LONG-TERM STRATEGY

 

Looking ahead, the businessman and professional pilot has pledged to improve the quality of NERHA's customer service delivery, and suggests the launch of the temporary clinic is the first step in a long-term strategy to enhance employee and client relations.

He said: "In 2017, we're looking forward to having throughput with people moving in and out quickly, so we stop having a bulk of people lined up at the hospital. To cut down on overcrowding at the hospitals, the health centres will be opening from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. so more services will be available to people. The same doctors that are at the hospitals are at the health centres so it is the same service, but a different location; we're just trying to take people out of the hospital.

"We're trying to make sure that everybody gets their fair share of health care, and want to advise people to take the medication they're given and not to keep them at home because you're only going to come back later because you didn't take all of your medication.

"I really enjoy my job," Robinson added. "We've made things easy so things are going like clockwork now. I've been here for eight months and we've made a lot of strides, and we're getting things done. I just want the people of St Mary to bear with us until we build up the new facility."

rural@gleanerjm.com