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CRH services still functional despite restoration work, says Tufton

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) on a tour of a section of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James last week. Also pictured is retired Army Major Marlon Stephens, project overseer for the restoration work currently under way at the facility.


Despite the myriad of challenges faced by the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in Montego Bay, St James, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that the Type A health facility continues to offer critical medical services that the public can easily access.

"There is a view that because of the restorative work that is going on, people can't come to CRH to get services, and clearly, that is not true," said Tufton.

"People are still getting their lab tests and diagnoses done, and we have to salute the people who are here doing the work."

Tufton toured the 400-bed hospital last week in the aftermath of new complaints that members of staff and patients were being affected by a fresh outbreak of noxious fumes, an issue that has been plaguing the facility for over a year.

"What we have done here is to create a village of services," said Tufton.

"Except for the accident and emergency department, these services were primarily in the hospital building, and we have brought in containers and put in air conditioning in them, including for the labs, which give critical support."

He added: "Ideally, we want to get back into the building, but services do still function despite the challenges in the building."

Last January, an outbreak of noxious fumes from the CRH's ventilation system forced the relocation of several departments from the first three floors of the hospital's main building.

Currently, the CRH's accident and emergency department is housed in the nearby Mt Salem Health Centre. A section of the neighbouring West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has been converted into cubicle spaces for the hospital's clinics.

"Yes, there is inconvenience, because the reality is we have work to do [on the CRH building], but, frankly speaking, the staff here have done very well in providing temporary infrastructures to give critical support services an opportunity to function," said Tufton.