Sun | Sep 24, 2017

UWI and UTech to collaborate on study of CRH crisis

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2017 | 3:00 AMMark Titus

Jamaica's two leading tertiary-level institutions, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech), are to collaborate on a research document, using the crisis at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay as a case study.

This was revealed by health minister Dr Christopher Tufton, following a tour of temporary facilities at the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist on Saturday.

"I anticipate that if they can do some research on this for the country and they can put forward some best practices and policies, I am prepared to take that to Cabinet, table it in Parliament, engage a national discussion (and) use it to influence a policy direction," said Tufton. "The fact is that we have not complied with the best practices. We have underserved our infrastructure in terms of maintenance, and we need to bring those days to a halt, because it is penny wise and pound foolish."

 

FOCUS OF STUDY

 

The document would look at how policy has guided the establishment and the maintenance of health care infrastructure across the island, and how to avoid any other such incidents as have occurred at the CRH.

"If we conclude, as we have, that the building needs a major overhaul that involves not just a ventilation system, but several things to be done because of poor ventilation over the years, the best way to fix it is to make it as empty as possible. I am not into this Band-Aid solutions. We have had enough Band-Aid solutions as it relates to this particular problem, and frankly speaking, as it relates to the maintenance of our public hospitals structure across the country. We have to take on the issue and deal with it in a very frontal and determined way. We are going to solve it and solve it once and for all."

... Patients abandoned at hospital have serious ailments

The Government was forced to relocate services to Adventist property after noxious fumes from the air conditioning unit affected the first, second, and third floors, which house the accident and emergency department, the administrative block, and critical diagnostic services.

Some 11 areas of medical services are now facilitated at the new location, with dentistry, psychiatry, and obstetrics and gynaecology being offered elsewhere for the time being. Thirteen retrofitted containers will house a range of lab services, a nurses' station, and personnel records.

The Ministry of Health is now in the process of relocating the 36 social cases to other facilities, and according to the minister, some of the individuals abandoned at the hospital by loved ones have serious ailments. They include four children suffering from cerebral palsy.