Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Working group set up to rectify Cornwall Regional Hospital concerns

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Cornwall Regional Hospital
A tent has been erected to facilitate patients attending the Mount Salem Health Centre next door to the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay. The hospital’s accident and emergency department was relocated to the health centre following an outbreak of noxious fumes affecting the hospital’s first three floors.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has assembled a working group that will seek to rectify the challenges the public and staff members have been facing at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

The decision was reached following a meeting this week with the hospital's senior management, staff, and environment experts. The technical experts have narrowed their focus on the potential causes of the issues being experienced and will, over the next few days, evaluate and map a way forward.

The working group has been tasked with investigating whether the current air duct system can be isolated and corrected or if an entirely new system needs to be designed and implemented.

Tufton has requested that the committee meet daily if needed.

"This is so that the working group will have the legitimacy and full support of the central ministry and, by extension, the Government of Jamaica, to complete the work as soon as possible," Tufton said while addressing the meeting.

"Whatever resources and support we need from external experts, locally or internationally, we will engage them on a needs basis."


 ... Areas to be addressed

The current situation has been divided into three distinct areas: relocation, communication, and restoration.




The issue is primarily limited to the hospital's first three floors, 70 per cent to 80 per cent of which has been relocated. Some departments on those floors continue to be operational since they have not reported any of the symptoms others have experienced. Until a permanent solution is found, other plans continue to be in effect and they are as follows:

- A&E trauma, triage, and management of patients with green and yellow tickets have been relocated to the Mount Salem Health Centre.

- Psychiatry has been relocated to the Holy Trinity Church Hall close by.

- OB-Gyn clinic and high-risk clinics have been relocated off site to Barnett Clinic.

- Mount Salem clinics have been relocated to tents located on the grounds.

- Asthma bay patients and services have been relocated to the Mount Salem Health Centre.

- The medical records department has been relocated to an external building on the first floor of the hospital.

- Physiotherapy and cytology services are at the West Jamaica Conference of the SDA next door.

- Laboratory services such as chemistry, microbiology, HIV, and phlebotomy will be relocated to the infection-control building.

- Limited X-rays (CT exams only) are being done at the staff quadrant.

- X-ray services are being bought from Montego Bay Hospital and Hospiten.

- Security has moved to the staff quadrant on the hospital's grounds.

Discussions are taking place with PAHO regarding approximately 10,000 square feet of tent space to be erected on the property adjacent to the hospital complex. This will allow for services to be relocated in proximity to the hospital. A more detailed plan will become available in the coming week.




With these changes, which have been effected, the hospital is urging patients who are in doubt to call its Patient Care Representative line at 684-4041 for any additional information. Customer care representatives will also be on hand 24 hours at the hospital. The hospital will engage the public through signage on the hospital grounds and through the media to provide the most updated information.

Clients will experience delays and dislocations in the short term, but every effort is being made to ensure that emergencies and urgent cases are treated in a timely manner. The Ministry of Health, in working with the Western Regional Health Authority and the Cornwall Regional Hospital, will be diligent in restoring normalcy in the most critical areas in the shortest possible time at the hospital.




The working team will work with private contractors to determine the best path for the restoration of the facility. The health minister has urged that the restoration be done on a phased basis, depending on the priority areas as outlined by the CRH. Special efforts are being made to restore the A&E department within the shortest possible time. It is anticipated that the long-term solution could take three to six months. There is technical advisory support from the Urban Development Corporation and The Pan-American Health Organization.

Tufton has assured the staff and patients that their best interests are being considered and commended them for their patience.


The working group


- Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas - regional director, Western Regional Health Authority

- Anthony Smikle - CEO, Cornwall Regional Hospital

- Dr Derrek Harvey - acting senior medical officer, Cornwall Regional Hospital

- Mark Kerr-Jarrett - board member, Western Regional Health Authority

- ESL Management Solutions Limited

- China Sinopharm