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Sav hospital’s ‘social patients’ to get refurbished building - Tufton says relatives must shoulder that responsibility

Published:Friday | August 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer


Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says plans are afoot to refurbish an abandoned building in Westmoreland to house some 20 'social patients' who are currently occupying much-needed bed space at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital.

"We have 20 beds there [at Savanna-la-Mar Hospital] that are occupied by 'social cases' while people are waiting to be admitted," Tufton told The Gleaner last Thursday.

"On Wednesday, we looked at a building that was abandoned, and we are going to work to restore that facility in short order, to put those people there. We'll assign a nurse to work with them."

Some of the social patients occupying bed space at the 160-bed Type-B facility were actually sent home after they were deemed to be in good health to leave the facility, but within a few days, they returned, either on their own or with the assistance of relatives.

"I get reports from the parish manager that even when the patients are fit enough to go home, and we put them in an ambulance and take them home, the family brings them back the next day," Errol Greene, the chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, told The Gleaner earlier this month.

However, in addressing the matter on Thursday, Tufton said the relatives of these patients must be made to understand that they have a responsibility to care for their loved ones.


Ongoing challenge


"Social cases are an ongoing challenge, and we have to do a lot more to get family members to recognise their responsibility to take care of their loved ones when they are incapacitated," said Tufton.

"The solution is not just to keep building infirmary space. The solution has to be to address the social issues around responsibility."

Last December, it was announced that a new block would be built at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital at a cost of J$300 million to increase the facility's bed-count to 300.