Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, officially opened a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a Chemotherapy Suite at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.
The two essential units are described as providing major boosts to healthcare delivery in Western Jamaica, as well as providing excellent back-up facilities to the wide array of specialist service delivery areas, including the newly introduced Neurosurgery service.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, (left), preparing to enter the new Chemotherapy Suite, after cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening of the facility at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Montego Bay on Thursday (March 4). At right is Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, Everton Anderson, and Chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, Noel Donaldson (second right).
The Chemotherapy Suite will particularly assist in reducing the number of admissions to wards for those patients requiring day treatment, and play a role in addressing the shortage of hospital bed space which is a major challenge for the facility, at this time.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister said the establishment of the units was in keeping with Government’s objective of broadening access to health care, and improving on the quality of the services offered to the people of the country.
“These services are two of the most expensive hospital care, and I congratulate the Cornwall Regional Hospital for the vision and the commitment to providing quality service to the people of western Jamaica,” Mr. Spencer said.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (centre), being guided by Consultant Anaesthetist, Dr. Juanette Mason Jordon (left), on a tour of the new Intensive Care Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay Thursday (March 4). The Unit will provide major boost to quality health care delivery in Western Jamaica. Looking on at right is Chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, Noel Donaldson.
He noted that the Government has made certain commitments to the people of Jamaica, regarding the health of the nation, and has demonstrated its sincerity in the policies that it has pursued over the last two years.
He said that a major policy intervention was to remove user fees from public health facilities, opening the way for thousands of Jamaicans to access health care. He also noted that over four million patient visits have been made to the Accident and Emergency Departments and Health Centres, between April 2008 and December 2009.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (right), listens attentively to Professor Ren Holness(centre), Neurosurgeon, during his tour of the newly opened Intensive Care Unit at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Montego Bay, on Thursday (March 4). At left is Senior Medical Officer at the Hospital, Dr. Delroy Fray.
“The Jamaican people have saved $3.6 billion because of this policy. This level of savings is critical in the present harsh economic climate, where people’s disposable income has fallen,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that the abolition of user fees has resulted in an increase in drug utilization rates by over 44 per cent, from 145, 395 prescriptions processed in 2007/2008 to 209,728 in 2008/2009.
“This is important, as access to affordable, essential drugs on a sustainable basis, is one target that is linked to the Millennium Development Goals. The achievement of that target is related to an effective global partnership for development, and relies on Official Development Assistance from developed countries to reduce poverty,” he asserted.
Turning to other critical health issues, Mr. Spencer observed that immunization continued to be a major priority of the Government.
“Our goal is universal coverage and we intend to achieve that target. We made some improvements last year, inching up to about 85 per cent coverage, which is a commendable performance, given the environment of declining budgets. We intend to consolidate our gains and to continue to implement those priority projects and programmes that we started”, he promised.
“No nation can grow and develop if its citizens do not have access to quality health care. A sick nation is a poor nation. We rely on our staff on the frontline to give their best and to respect the dignity of the persons whom we serve,” he urged the hospital staff.
Mr. Spencer also told them to continue to develop the facility as a centre of excellence, and called on residents of western Jamaica to respect the facility and to cooperate with the health professionals.