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A female ward is to be constructed at the St. Ann's Bay Hospital, and the air conditioning unit is to be replaced at a cost of $10 million.

This was announced by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who toured the institution on November 15, along with senior personnel from the Ministry.

Dr. Ferguson told the staff and clients that Cabinet is to approve the $73.4 million for the female ward, and that despite the limited funds available, health facilities cannot operate below acceptable standards, and that the projects will be receiving urgent attention.

"There are some minimum standards that must exist in our public hospitals, and we are moving with alacrity to ensure that this (air conditioning unit) project becomes a reality…and the unit can be up and running in the shortest possible time,” the Minister said.

Regarding the female ward, Dr. Ferguson said that project will be going before the Infrastructure Committee and the Cabinet on the same day.

“The project will significantly ease the pressure at the accident and emergency area, and will improve immediately, the quality of care in this institution,” he said.

The Minister noted that the two operating theatres at the hospital are inadequate, and that a $17 million project will be effected to improve that area of the institution.

“There is need for expansion and I am giving instructions to get those two additional theatres for the hospital. This will result in much shorter appointment time for elective surgery and other kinds of surgery,” Dr. Ferguson said.

The Minister called for co-operation during the period of construction. “As the projects get underway, I appeal to patients, and to staff, to have some patience,” the Minister said.