Medical gas putting strain on health budget, says Greene
First patients admitted to Falmouth’s new COVID ward
Errol Greene, director of the Western Regional Health Authority, has expressed concern about the availability of medical gas in the western end of the island and the attendant cost.
“We have heavy usage of medical gas in the region. It is putting a strain on our budget,” Greene said yesterday as a new ward to treat COVID-19 patients at the Falmouth Public Hospital in Trelawny admitted its first six patients.
“All of us are looking forward to the end of COVID-19 because that would result in a reduction in the heavy usage of medical gas. Also, it will allow for the new 36-bed ward to become a part of the regular hospital,” he said.
He noted that the new ward was adequately equipped to function properly and that he was expecting operations to flow smoothly.
The six patients were admitted yesterday via transfer from the hospital’s original COVID-19 ward.
Pauline Dawkins-Palmer, director of nursing services at the facility, told The Gleaner that while the facility is equipped with the requisite staff, additional staff will be recruited in the event that there is a greater demand in the near future.
“These are the first patients to occupy the facility, and all is in place for them. We have a complement of doctors along with other support staff,” said Dawkins-Palmer. “There is an ongoing recruitment, especially for more doctors. There has been an appeal for retired medical professionals to apply to amplify our numbers. So far, we have one retired nurse, who is now serving,” added Dawkins-Palmer.
Dr Leighton Perrins, senior medical officer at the hospital, said the plan to transfer COVID-19 patients from the Montego Bay, St James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital to the Falmouth facility is not yet in train, but that discussions were under way.
“The first patients to be transferred are those from Falmouth. After that, we will make our decisions based on the conditions of those who are positive and need hospital care,” said Perrins. “Here in Falmouth, there are patients who are suspected of having the virus. They have been swabbed, and their results should be back within 24 hours. Then they will be treated as per what their results say.”