90 Per Cent of CRH’s Services Temporarily Relocated to Facilitate Renovations

Photo: Mark Bell Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says approximately 90 per cent of the services provided at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James have been temporarily relocated to other institutions to facilitate renovations to rectify poor air quality affecting patients and staff at the facility.
  • He said phased relocation of CRH’s services had to be undertaken to minimise any potential fallout in the institution’s ability to respond to emergencies.
  • “The real challenge was that there were some services that just could not be relocated at short notice. We had to do some renovation in some instances to be able to utilise other spaces to carry out our functions,” he explained.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says approximately 90 per cent of the services provided at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James have been temporarily relocated to other institutions to facilitate renovations to rectify poor air quality affecting patients and staff at the facility.

Dr. Tufton, who made the disclosure during a press conference at the Ministry in New Kingston on Monday (April 9), advised that the renovations are expected to be completed by year end.

He said phased relocation of CRH’s services had to be undertaken to minimise any potential fallout in the institution’s ability to respond to emergencies.

“The real challenge was that there were some services that just could not be relocated at short notice. We had to do some renovation in some instances to be able to utilise other spaces to carry out our functions,” he explained.

Dr. Tufton said Falmouth hospital in Trelawny was retrofitted to expand and equip its operating space to administer elective surgeries normally undertaken at the CRH.

“It took quite a bit of work to get to that stage and some equipment had to be procured from overseas, which is why the relocation could not be as immediate and sudden as some popular sentiments would suggest,” the Minister further stated.

Additionally, he said suggestions that CRH should have been shut down immediately without due consideration of available alternatives was “impractical”.

The Minister argued that the outcome of such a move could have been potentially devastating, with the possibility of casualties if proper contingencies were not put in place.

The air quality at the hospital was discovered to have been compromised consequent on the presence of mould in sections of the facility.

Dr. Tufton said that upon the Ministry’s notification of this in March, the most adversely affected areas were evacuated and remedial work commenced to remove the mould.

“It is important that this point is made clear to establish that the possible threats were not ignored and (that) the well-being of staff was at all times being considered,” he emphasised.

The Minister further outlined that while the mould removal work was being done, steps were promptly taken to remove hazardous asbestos material that was discovered in another section of the hospital.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton has thanked the staff of the CRH in St. James for their dedication to safeguarding the welfare of patients in the face of the less-than-ideal environment.

He expressed heartfelt gratitude to the healthcare staff, in particular, whom he said must be commended for their role, while again expressing regret over the resulting discomfort experienced by everybody.

“I regret thoroughly the fact that the staff has had to endure the issue of irritation and discomfort over the period of time. The key challenge was in balancing that reality with the need to provide the critically essential services required, and I do hope that they are understanding of that fact,” he stated.

Dr. Tufton encouraged affected employees to continue using the staff clinic at the CRH, which was set up to attend to their needs and monitor any resulting impact on their health arising from exposure to noxious fumes.

JIS Social