Patients and staff at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston are benefitting from the recent upgrading and refurbishing of the facility at a cost of approximately $23.5 million.
The lion’s share of the funds, $22 million, went towards the comprehensive overhaul of the kitchen, to create the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, which boasts state-of-the-art amenities.
The works included the repair and water proofing of the roof; complete electrical rewiring; replacement of the plumping system; reconfiguration of the steam system; re-meshing of the windows; retiling of the floors and walls; painting; rodents and insect proofing; construction of garbage disposal system and chemical areas; repairing of all major equipment, including cold storage facilities, stove and chill system; as well as the upgrading of the management of the food waste system.
The remaining $1.5 million was used to purchase a new dental chair for the Dental Health Unit.
At a ceremony held on Thursday, May 16, on the grounds of the 150-year old hospital located on Windward Road, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said that the rehabilitation works were well-needed.
“You can appreciate that some of the infrastructure at the Bellevue Hospital would need significant repair and overhaul, given the age of the facility,” he stated.
He further noted that from “time to time we will have to do comprehensive repairs of buildings and other infrastructure and in some cases total replacement”.
Dr. Ferguson informed that a second chair and well-needed equipment were also donated to the Dental Health Unit by Dr. Roy Streete, a visiting dental surgeon from the United States.
The unit is expected to be fully functional by June 1 when a full time dentist is to come on board. With the opening of the unit, patients and staff will be able to access dental health services from Monday to Friday.
Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, David Dobson, noted that along with the upgrading, critical staffing gaps have been filled and a comprehensive training programme designed and executed to facilitate the preparation of staff.
The training dubbed: ‘Bellevue Employee Empowerment Programme (BEEP),’ caters to the development of hospital staff in the use of the new Department of Dietetics and Nutrition and the equipment.
The Bellevue Hospital, which was built in 1861, has an in-patient population of approximately 800, with a staff complement of 650.
Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker