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CRH ‘social patients’ heading to Falmouth

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater and Leon Jackson

Western Bureau:

Repairs are now being done to the Icy Allen Care Centre in Falmouth, Trelawny, to accommodate 35 'social patients' (people abandoned at hospital), who have been displaced by the problems now plaguing the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay.

"We have to move hastily to have the repairs done because these people will have to be there in very short order," said Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Collin Gager, in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

The decision to house the social patients from the CRH at the Icy Allen Care Centre is a setback for the Trelawny Municipal Corporation. It has been forced to use funds earmarked for the building of a halfway house for persons of unsound mind to effect repairs to the Icy Allen facility.


Plans on hold


"This new activity will put some of our plans on hold," Gager told The Gleaner. "Prior to this, I was in the process of establishing a halfway house on grounds at Elliston Wakeland Centre to accommodate the persons of unsound mind now roaming the streets of Falmouth."

Prior to the noxious fumes problem, which has caused the massive dislocation now facing the CRH, the hospital's administration was facing a major predicament with the social patients, who were occupying much-needed bed spaces.

"The money set for that establishment (the halfway house) will have to be put aside to run the Icy Allen Care Centre. Also, we here at the municipal corporation will have to provide staff, including cooks, and carry out maintenance service related to infrastructure, including plumbing and electrical," said Gager. "We will, however, be getting help from the ministries of health and local government."

Send them to relatives, say residents

The decision to house the social patients in Falmouth has not gone down well with some residents of the town, who are questioning the decision to take them to Trelawny instead of sending them back to their relatives.

"Why have these people not been taken back to the addresses they gave when they were admitted to the hospital?" asked a resident after he was told of the decision to take the social patients to Falmouth. "They are not sick ... . They were just occupying bed space at the hospital."

It should be noted that the Falmouth Hospital is also facing a challenge with social patients. However, efforts to determine how many such persons were there proved futile.

The Icy Allen Care Centre was built as a private wing of the Falmouth Infirmary to house paying clients who required long-term day care. However, it was never used, and, being in proximity to the sea, it fell prey to the ravages of nature.