Sav Hospital restroom now spick and span as Tufton orders audit
A deplorable restroom at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in Westmoreland was in a much improved condition on Tuesday, 24 hours after Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton ordered an islandwide audit of health facilities.
Tufton's directive came on the heels of public criticism following a Sunday Gleaner investigation that found subpar maintenance of restrooms at seven hospitals and four healthcare facilities in several parishes. Messy floors, missing tiles, broken toilets, sinks, and water lock-offs made life hellish for patients wishing to use most of the 14 restrooms visited.
Savanna-la-Mar Hospital appeared to have the worst condition in last week's survey, but a revisit to the male restroom at the Accident and Emergency Unit on Tuesday revealed that a lopsided door had been repaired, toilets were impeccably clean, and soap and tissue were dispensed for patients' usage.
Potable water flowed through the taps though cardboard was still on the floor.
The female section was also cleaned.
Security had also been beefed up as entry was barred to a bathroom for the maternity ward that had previously been accessible to unauthorised persons.
“A statutory function of each regional health authority board of management is to equip, furnish, maintain and manage public health facilities within the region to ensure efficient delivery of high standard of public health services,” Tufton said in correspondence issued to board chairmen of regional health authorities.
“Accordingly, I am directing that each regional board take immediate steps to bring up to standard all sanitation and hygiene facilities within public health facilities,” he added, noting that reports and action plans should be completed by December 31.
Managers should also ensure that routine cleaning programmes are adhered to, that janitorial contractors observe stipulated standards, and that training or sensitisation be undertaken.
The health minister also called for the preparation of repair or replacement estimates and the provision of regular and backup water supply at all health facilities.
He said the regions may liaise with the Ministry of Health & Wellness for guidance on the applicable water, sanitation, and hygiene standards for public health facilities.
Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr Morais Guy criticised Tufton for a breakdown in sanitation at health facility restrooms, saying they could be havens for infection.
“Ultimately, the minister is the one that has the responsibility. You can't claim that you are going to be spending so much money to improve health facilities around the country when simple, low-hanging fruits such as hygiene in hospitals and health centres are not attended to,” said Guy.
Tufton commended facilities that he said have been doing an exceptional job in maintaining restrooms, among them hospitals in St Elizabeth, Manchester, and St Ann.