Social patients still a bother at Cornwall Regional - hospital CEO
Despite the urgent need for beds at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and promise last June by the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) to find ways to have patients who were discharged but refused to go, leave the institution, little has changed in the past eight months.
According to Anthony Smikle, the hospital's CEO, the plan to relocate the so-called 'social patients' to the Montego Bay Infirmary has not materialised because the required space has not yet been created.
"The mass relocation [of patients] has not happened yet. It will take some time for the infirmary to build up their capacity," Smikle told The Gleaner yesterday. "On a normal basis, as it is available, spaces are allotted to us."
He continued, "The relocation is an ongoing situation, and my understanding is that the infirmary should get additional resources, but even as that is coming on stream, through the Poor Relief Department of the St James Parish Council, which runs the infirmary, we do send persons there."
In addition to occupying bed spaces, the 'social patients', who are for the most part abandoned by their families, are also benefiting from free food and the utilities on offer at the facility.
Approximately 35 social patients are currently at CRH, primarily in the Accident and Emergency Department, resulting in a shortage of bed-space that is needed for genuinely sick patients.
WRHA chairman, Tony Hart, announced last June that accommodation would be put in place at the infirmary to house the social patients and get them off the hospital ward.