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Health ministry working to remedy issues at CRH

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Princess Blagrove (centre), pensioner, chats with Dr Christopher Tufton (right), minister of health, and Dr Ernestine Watson (left, clinical pharmacist of Everybody's Pharmacy. In the background are National Health Fund's (NHF) Chairman Gregory Mair, (left) and Steven Sykes, director of NHF.

In updating the nation on plans to remedy the myriad challenges now plaguing the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said every effort is being made to alleviate the discomfort faced by workers, including finding an alternative location.

Speaking with The Gleaner following the Kingston launch of the Public Sector Pharmacy Partner Pilot Programme, Tufton said the ministry received some additional space at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Centre in Montego Bay, and expected assistance from the Pan-American Health Organisation this week.

"The issue as to how far we go, if we could find an alternative location, that option will be considered very seriously. The fact that we have downsized significantly while maintaining the service is an indication that the environment is not ideal," Tufton told The Gleaner.




He said that the ministry was examining options regarding in-patient and critical-care services.

"Those options are under active consideration and would be resorted to once we can manage the logistics of it and not be in a position where we totally shut down some of the critical services," he said.

In endorsing the launch of the programme, which is expected to reduce waiting time, and improve services, the health minister said that while it will be costly to administer across the island, it is something that they will be focused on.

"The plan is, over time, to roll this out across the country. It is going to cost the NHF (National Health Fund), because there is a cost associated with this arrangement. Indeed, those who access the drugs are being required to pay $200, which is not for the drugs but for the administrative process. If you can't afford that, you can still remain at the Drug Serv windows, and that, of course, is free, so there are options," he said

Former chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, Gregory Mair, who is the new chairman of the NHF, also pointed to the NHF's role in increasing access to affordable health-care resources, saying creative ways must be found to meet health-care needs despite limited resources.