Public-Private Partnership for the Construction of Housing for Health Workers

Photo: Donald De La Haye Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right) listens to Senior Registered Nurse, Venese Henry-Williams (left), who specializes in neonatal care, during a tour of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, St. Thomas on June 16. Listening in at (centre) is Member of Parliament for East St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson.

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says a public/private partnership proposal, is being examined for the construction of accommodations for healthcare professionals at certain locations.
  • Dr. Tufton explained that such an arrangement will require the injection of funds from an investor to develop the housing facilities.
  • “So we would secure private participation in the financing and building of the accommodations with a long-term financing arrangement that would see the lease payments by the tenants occupying the facility,” Dr. Tufton said.

Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says a public/private partnership proposal, is being examined for the construction of accommodations for healthcare professionals at certain locations.

Dr. Tufton explained that such an arrangement will require the injection of funds from an investor to develop the housing facilities.

“So we would secure private participation in the financing and building of the accommodations with a long-term financing arrangement that would see the lease payments by the tenants occupying the facility,” he said.

The Health Minister was speaking with JIS NEWS, ahead of a tour at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, St. Thomas, on June 16.

Dr. Tufton pointed out that he will begin examination of the proposal in the coming weeks.

He noted that the St. Thomas-based Hospital, with its 26-acres of land, is an ideal location that could benefit from this arrangement, in addition to other areas, “as housing is a big issue for healthcare professionals”.

The sentiment was also shared by Senior Medical Officer (SMO) for the facility, Dr. Cecil Batchelor, who said staff members were lost periodically due to the absence of housing.

“I have 16 doctors and of that number, I think 13 of them live in Kingston. Whenever we have a disaster pending, such as a hurricane, I have to find ways of housing them so that I have enough doctors in case we get cut-off because we do from time-to-time. So housing is very important,” he said.

Meanwhile, addressing other issues, Dr. Tufton said he would be examining the needs of the hospital for more incubators for newborns as well as the reasons for the delay in completion in the expansion of the accident and emergency building.

The expansion project is said to cost approximately $143million.

In an update on the construction of the new 220-bed western hospital for children and adolescents, on the grounds of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James, Dr. Tufton said he expects ground to be broken before the end of the current financial year.

He said a team from China is in the island for four weeks examining plans and designs for the hospital’s construction.

He also informed that work will commence this year to upgrade Type B hospitals to Type A. Among them include: St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine and the Mandeville Regional Hospital.

Type A facilities provide comprehensive secondary and tertiary health care services and are the final referral points for public and private hospitals.

Situated in the larger urban centres, Type B hospitals provide primary and secondary care services, including inpatient and outpatient services in general surgery, general medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, and anaesthetics. X-ray and laboratory services are usually available.

While on the tour of the 62 year-old St. Thomas facility, Dr. Tufton visited the laboratory, accident and emergency section under development, the x-ray and paediatric departments, kitchen and male and female wards, among other areas.

JIS Social