Jeffrey East to lead CRH oversight committee
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has named former senior medical officer of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), Dr Jeffrey East, as chairman of the revamped oversight committee that will monitor the multibillion-dollar restoration project for the western Jamaica facility.
East replaces Professor Archibald McDonald, who resigned as committee chair recently.
The majority of the new team is drawn from western Jamaica on the recommendation from the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which had expressed concerns about the constant change in the scope of the work causing project delays as well as the lack of communication from the authorities.
The previous committee comprised primarily persons from outside the parish of St James.
“Dr East is a retired surgeon at CRH, so he is very familiar with the hospital and he is technical-minded ... and can therefore give a lot of valuable insights, having worked at the institution for some time,” said Tufton.
According to the health minister, the East-led committee will not only provide oversight, but will offer advice and feedback to him as minister, who has ultimate responsibility.
The committee is also expected to assist in interfacing with the community. Already, a town hall is being planned to give a progress report.
“All around there are benefits to be had, having close proximity to the project with the involvement of locals. And in the west, there are very competent people, clinicians, engineers, architects, so you can bring a lot to the project,” Tufton told the committee, while in the same breath thanking McDonald for work during his tenure.
The restructured committee will involve some members of the previous group.
While hesitant to commit to a timeline for completion, Tufton said the project was making good progress and he was hopeful that the overhaul would be finished in less than three years.
He said that Phase Two was under way and that discussions were taking place concerning procurement for the third and final phase.
“The intention is to overlap one phase with the other, and through that overlapping, we would therefore shorten the time to try to bring the project to a conclusion as soon as possible,” he told journalists during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Western Regional Health Authority offices in Montego Freeport last Friday.
The terms of reference outlined in the MOU indicate that the committee meets quarterly or as required with the Project Implementation Unit, where updates will be provided on the progress of project.
Five years later, the hospital has been dogged by dysfunction, first linked to its ventilation infrastructure, but further analysis unearthed more widespread defects that have caused many services to be referred elsewhere and for sections of the multistorey building to be left unoccupied.