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Operating theatres used as office space at Falmouth Hospital

Published:Tuesday | January 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Mark Titus, Staff Reporter

Western Bureau:

The new state-of-the-art operating theatres at the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny, which were built to coincide with the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, are currently being used as office space for the chief executive officer and acting matron, while surgical procedures are being carried out in what has been described as a run-down surgery room constructed in 1954.

The newer operating theatres and diagnostic centre, developed as part of the Accident and Emergency Unit dubbed 'Little Miami' because of the many and varied features it was expected to offer, was constructed at a cost of $350 million to meet the possible demands of the international cricket tournament, which had its opening ceremony at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium.

"The two new operating theatres were constructed in 2007 but, to this day, they are not being used for the people," Wendell Stewart, a former member of parliament for North Trelawny, claimed. "Instead, they are occupied by personnel, and areas like the anaesthesia room are being used for storage."

When The Gleaner visited the facility last Thursday, the news team was told that acting CEO Marcia Clarke was on sick leave.

Julian Mullings, the acting administrator, who also utilises part of the theatre as an office, was unwilling to speak on the matter.

"I am just a few months old in this capacity," Mullings said. "I cannot speak to the use of those areas you are enquiring about."

'Much-needed repairs' last year

In January last year, the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) was forced to suspend surgery at the Falmouth Hospital, to facilitate 'much-needed repairs' to the old operating theatre. While operations have resumed in the old facility, members of staff are not impressed with the working conditions.

"Falmouth is positioning itself as the place to live for real development," said a medical doctor, who requested anonymity. "This is a poor utilisation of space and the administrators have made these terrible decisions with the facilities that were expected to improve our service delivery to the people."

The doctor added: "Each time the rain falls, the operating theatre that we now use floods. The place is simply in a terrible state and must be addressed."

When Hurley Taylor, adviser and special consultant to Ferguson, was contacted for comment on the status of the proposed upgrade, he referred The Gleaner to the ministry's public relations department, noting that he could not recall the details of discussions held on his last visit to the institution.