Construction of mini hospital in Negril to start next month
Omega Medical Services (OMS) Limited, a firm that specialises in health-care support for the hospitality industry, is set to break ground for the construction of the Omega Ambulatory Centre on Norman Manley Boulevard on November 9.
The principals, Drs Dale and Sonja Foster, are projecting a completion timeline of 10 -12 months for the three-storey, 15,000 sq ft development, which will offer essential medical services for local and international visitors.
The husband and wife team, who have been serving the community since 1999, would not divulge the cost of the project, but experts have estimated that construction and acquisition of equipment could demand approximately US$430 million.
“It is more than a clinic, but not a full hospital,” said Dr Dale Foster, whose private practice is located at West End. “… But it is not only for the hospitality industry because I started in a small office on the West End and we remain true and faithful to the people of Negril.”
Added Foster: “We will be a 24 hours, seven days per week facility and will operate at the same reasonable cost that we have offered to locals over the years.”
Omega has exclusive contracts to provide health-care services for several of the all-inclusive hotel operations locally and in the Eastern Caribbean.
OMS also offers ambulance and nanny support services.
With the accident and emergency departments at the Savanna-la-Mar and Lucea public hospitals overwhelmed with injuries from motorcycle-dominated crashes, and crime, calls have been made for a hospital in Negril. However, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton does not agree.
"This is where we have our priorities wrong. What really needs to be done is for people to stop riding bikes without helmets and doing stunts, not to mention the trauma from violence and so on," said Tufton in a recent interview with The Gleaner. "We have a societal problem, and we will never be able to build enough hospital beds to solve those problems. So the first order of business is to encourage and enforce the rules to reduce those cases that require you to build a facility to deal with them.”