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Unwelcome patients

Published:Thursday | October 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

CRH chairman says hospital being burdened by persons well enough to go home

Adrian Frater, News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:The Cornwall Regional Hospital's (CRH) ability to deliver top-flight health care is reportedly being compromised by patients who are well enough to go home, but have made the Montego Bay, St James-located health-care institution their home.

CRH chairman Calvin G. Brown, in lamenting the situation at the hospital, said yesterday that the institution was being burdened by the unnecessary strain being caused by some 30 unwelcome patients whose presence is preventing persons who are really ill and require hospitalisation from being accommodated.

"We are now under strain to accommodate some of the persons who are in the A&E (Accident and Emergency) department awaiting a bed on the ward," said Brown.

"While at the same time, we have persons on the ward who are well enough to go home occupying beds."

Brown said the persons on the ward who are well enough to go home could still access treatment from the hospital (outpatient department) or the health-centre clinics.

He said he was particularly peeved about the patients who have made the hospital their home after being abandoned by their families.

"We have some patients who have been abandoned by their relatives and have made the hospital their homes," said Brown. "Some of them are here for years, putting an unnecessary strain on the hospital's service."

With CRH, which is the premier health-care facility in western Jamaica, catering to all five western parishes (Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St Elizabeth), the demand for its 420 beds is usually quite high.

"There are now patients in the A&E department who really need to be on the wards because they are really ill and suffering but, unfortunately, there are no available spaces for extra beds," said Brown, who said he was recently moved to tears after paying a visit to the A&E department.

With no solution on the horizon to fix the existing problem and the hospital's services coming under increasing pressure, Brown has turned to the St James Parish Council for help.

"We have initiated discussion with the St James Parish Council to see whether or not we can have the persons abandoned by their families placed at the St James Infirmary," said Brown. "Unfortunately, there is no space at the infirmary at this time."

He said he wants the public, especially persons who are quick to bash the institution when they encounter even minute difficulties, to understand what is happening there.

"If we should ever exercise the option of forcing out those patients who are well enough to go home to accommodate those who are really ill, I am sure there are persons who would take us to task," said Brown.