Hours after the start of an islandwide sickout by doctors, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson yesterday sought to assure the House of Representatives that emergency measures had been put in place to counteract the effects of the industrial action.
Up to late afternoon, the labour ward of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital was teeming with patients, leaving the burden of patient care on nurses and midwives who were assigned to the facility. Patients are generally examined by doctors on the labour ward before they are sent to other sections of the maternity institution.
Earlier, employees at the neighbouring Kingston Public Hospital confirmed Ferguson's assertion that scores of patients were discharged from that facility.
Patients at the Annotto Bay and Port Maria hospitals in St Mary reported suffering longer waiting hours to receive assistance.
Ferguson told the House, at the end of its first sitting for the new legislative year, that consultants and emergency mechanisms were in place.
"The chief medical officer, the officer in charge of emergency services, the permanent secretary and the team are actively monitoring in conjunction with the chairmen of the regional health authorities and regional directors to ensure that we maintain minimal standards during this period," he said.