Main building at Cornwall Regional to be evacuated this weekend
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton
Minister of Health Christopher Tufton, says the main building of the Cornwall Regional Hospital should be fully evacuated by this weekend into Monday (April 9).
Patients and staff will be relocated to the Falmouth Regional Hospital in the neighbouring parish of Trelawny.
Tufton explained that the evacuation will enable the completion of repairs in a more efficient manner, while allowing nurses and doctors to operate in a more comfortable environment.
“What that (the evacuation) will do in terms of the work on the main building is allow us a free hand to really go in and to gut and remove those parts of the building that require removal, without the risk of recontamination or contamination of other areas where work is taking place, and so the issues as a result of the air quality would not arise,” he explained.
“We think things should be a bit easier now despite the logistical challenges of multiple locations, and we can now get on with the business of going full throttle in terms of restoration of the main building, hopefully, through the end of this year when we can see a renewed Cornwall Regional hospital,” he said.
“So, we should be in a position this weekend, into Monday the very latest, to (accommodate) the doctors and nurses, many of whom will be transferred or relocated from Cornwall Regional,” he added.
Tufton was speaking during a tour of Cornwall Regional on April 5, following a visit to the Falmouth Hospital.
He informed that Falmouth Hospital has been renovated to increase the number of operating theatres from two to four, and an additional section is being refurbished to accommodate patients who require surgery. The 87-bed facility is being equipped with 55 additional beds.
Tufton said, further, that efforts will be made to extend surgery hours from around 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
He, however, explained that due to the time-sensitive nature of some medical cases, a surgery team will remain at the Mount Salem clinic, which was renovated to house a temporary operating theatre to accommodate accident and emergency cases.
Tufton advised that the Cornwall Regional Hospital is not closed and is still offering its services to the public.
“I want to reiterate that the hospital is still open for business. The services of Cornwall Regional Hospital continues… . What we have, then, is Cornwall Regional’s services being provided up to about 80 per cent of normal capacity in multiple locations, which is quite challenging, but, nevertheless, providing for those who require it, particularly those who require it under emergency circumstances,” he said.
In the meanwhile, Minister Tufton said Falmouth Hospital stands to benefit from the renovations that are being made to accommodate patients and staff from Cornwall Regional.
“Falmouth is benefiting from the adjustments that have had to be made, so at the end of it all, assuming Cornwall is restored to normality, Falmouth will be a much better hospital with more capacity, and, by extension, the people of Falmouth will benefit,” he said.
Tufton also underscored his gratitude for the sacrifice the doctors and nurses have made over the past months.
“It has been a very difficult situation for them. They have had to deal with an environment that has been harsh, but they have risen to the call of duty, and I certainly want to express my appreciation on behalf of the Government and, indeed, the people of western Jamaica, for their commitment and service,” he said.