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Patients and staff of the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) got an early Christmas treat on Thursday (December 6), when they received a visit from Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who came bearing gifts.

The Governor-General’s visit was part of his annual tour of hospitals during the Yuletide season to bring cheer to patients and staff.

He toured a number of areas, including the male and female medical wards and the recently opened Ambulatory Chemotherapy Unit, where he interacted with the patients and staff.

In an address to staff following the tour, the Governor-General expressed pleasure at being able to visit, and thanked them for being gracious hosts.          

The Governor-General commended the management and staff of the KPH for the high level of service rendered, as they continue to address the health needs of Jamaicans.

“Despite the known constraints, what this hospital is doing in cardiology, renal care and oncology, to name a few fields, deserves the strongest commendation. I look forward to the completion of the renovation of your operating theatres, not only for the good of your patients, but also because the quality of your health professionals demands the best possible facilities for their life-saving expertise,” he said.

He encouraged the communities surrounding the hospital to give the staff the necessary support so that they can fulfill their mission to provide quality health care in a secure environment.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Board of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Lyttleton Shirley, said the hospital has been upgraded and modernised overtime to provide the highest quality of service.

“The SERHA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has been on a tremendous drive to improve the level of service offered to the patients at KPH and has invested millions of dollars in the rehabilitation of several wards as well as the procurement of much needed equipment and furniture, while repairing many of our critically used equipment,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the facility, Beulah Stevens, informed that approximately 260,000 patients from across the island were treated at the hospital in 2011, informing that the figure represents a 22 per cent increase from the previous year.

She informed that during April to September this year, 21,606 patients were admitted while 103,906 outpatients were treated, adding that the average length of stay for patients is 7.5 days.

Following his tour, the Governor-General presented Ms. Stevens and Senior Medical Officer (Actg) Dr. Natalie Whylie with a certificate of recognition for the sterling work the institution has rendered over the years.

Opened in 1776, the KPH has evolved into the largest multi-disciplinary hospital in the Government Health Service as well as the largest trauma centre in the public hospital system.

Today, the hospital has a bed capacity of 500 and offers a wide range of specialist diagnostic and rehabilitative services, as well as curative services in medicine, surgery and related sub-specialties.

KPH remains the main provider of critical services such as haemodialysis, kidney transplant and radiotherapy in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean.