Wed | Sep 22, 2021

Falmouth’s COVID-19 field hospital now ready

Published:Monday | March 8, 2021 | 12:06 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer
The field hospital/COVID-19 Ward at Falmouth Hospital.
The field hospital/COVID-19 Ward at Falmouth Hospital.

WESTERN BUREAU:

The need for additional bed space to handle coronavirus cases in western Jamaica should be alleviated somewhat today as the new $200-million field hospital/COVID-19 Ward on the grounds of the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny will be ready to receive its first patients.

The announcement, which should be most welcome by the Western Regional Health Authority, was made by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton during a tour of the newly completed facility on Thursday.

“All the support systems are in place for the facility to become operational,” stated Tufton, following his tour. “The doctors and nurses and other needed staff have been recruited. The equipment, which is a gift from Pan American Health Organization, all brand new, has been installed.”

“Come Monday morning, six patients will be transferred to this new ward,” added Tufton, who has been under pressure to find additional bed spaces as the local COVID-19 cases continue to increase steadily.

Tufton was highly complimentary of the role that the Falmouth Hospital has been playing in the region at a time when the Cornwall Regional Hospital is struggling to rebound from a noxious-fumes issue that came to the fore in 2016.

“Five years ago when I came here (Falmouth), the bed count was under 100. Today, because of COVID-19 and what is happening at Cornwall Regional Hospital, the bed count is now 220. This further qualifies the hospital for Type B status,” said Tufton.

When questioned about the cost overrun incurred as a result of missing the original November 30, 2020 completion date, Tufton said adjustments were made but nonetheless, value was gotten for the extra expenditure.

“We have had to make some adjustments; the weather played a great part in influencing the delay, as for three weeks it rained,” explained Tufton. “The landscaping was not in the original budget, but we got value for money.”

Dr Leighton Perrins, the senior medical officer at the Falmouth Hospital, said he was happy to see the new facility finally ready for use.

“I am very happy. I have always championed for an increase in bed capacity. We now have 25 doctors on staff. The 36-bed addition makes it necessary for additional staff, which is good for us. At the end of COVID-19, we will have these newly installed beds for our patients,” said Perrins.