KPH celebrates 240 years
One of the island's oldest medical institutions, Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), is celebrating 240 years of service to the public health sector.
Located on North Street in the business district of downtown Kingston, KPH was established on December 14, 1776 and primarily serves the communities in the southeast regions of Jamaica.
The institution offers a variety of services, including diagnostic imaging; laboratory services, physiotherapy; physical rehabilitative services, dietary services; radiotherapy; general surgery; ear, nose and throat surgery; ophthalmology; anaesthesia; intensive care pain management; gastroenterology; haematology; dialysis; endocrinology; rheumatology; psychiatry; and cardiology.
The hospital also has an internal care medicine department with many subspecialties.
The facility's accident and emergency unit sees 200 to 300 persons per day, treating up to 90,000 patients annually, while its outpatient unit handles approximately 2,000 cases daily. Additionally, the hospital performs approximately 90,000 surgical procedures annually.
Acting senior medical officer for the KPH, Dr Natalie Whylie, reveals that the hospital, which has a bed capacity of 475, frequently functions over the 100 per cent bed capacity.
"One of the significant challenges is overcrowding ... . Some of the buildings at the hospital are over 100 years old ... we have outgrown the number of beds. We need much more beds in order to meet the needs of the Jamaican people and to address the overcrowding that we experience," Dr Whylie explains. To address the problem, the hospital will be collaborating with the South East Regional Health Authority and the Ministry of Health to carry out a new phase of redevelopment and expansion of the hospital.
Under the project, which is still in its planning stages, several of the hospital wards are to be expanded to accommodate more beds. The outpatient clinics are also to be renovated to accommodate the high volume of patients that access these services.
Additionally, improvements are to be made to several operating theatres, surgical services and intensive care and ambulatory units. The parking facilities at the hospital are also to be expanded under the project.
"It's a project that is going to look in a holistic way at (the) expansion of the physical infrastructure and the services that we offer," Dr Whylie says.
SERIES OF ACTIVITIES
Meanwhile, to commemorate its 240th anniversary, the hospital will be hosting a series of activities throughout the year.
Among the lined up activities slated to take place is the observance of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Day in March. This is to be followed by a staff appreciation ceremony to be held in June, in honour of staff members who have contributed significantly to the hospital.
In September, a large health fair is also being planned. Members of the public are invited to attend the fair, which will feature various tests, including blood pressure tests and screenings for diabetes and kidney failure.
The year of activities is to be culminated with a party to be held for the hospital staff on December 14 - the founding day of the hospital.
Dr Whylie attributes the longevity of the hospital to the dedication of the staff.
"The staff is committed to delivering quality health care, which is in line with our quality definition statement. This states that at KPH, quality is the delivery of timely, efficient, courteous and cost-effective service, which is accessible to all - even with the constraints, even with the overcrowding, even with the infrastructural challenges, the staff is committed to delivering quality service," she says.
The hospital, which falls within the South East Regional Health Authority, is funded through budgetary allocations by the Ministry of Health and through partnerships with various public- and private-sector entities.