Health Minister Refutes Claim That KPH is Under Siege

Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, is refuting claims in some sections of the international media, that the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is under siege by criminal elements.
“No such thing exists, it is not true and I categorically deny that,” he stated, at a press briefing at Jamaica House, today (May 26).
Meanwhile, Mr. Spencer said the hospital continues to provide emergency services only, and is manned by dedicated staff, despite the challenges posed by the unrest in West Kingston.
He said provisions have been made for grief counselling for staff members who have been traumatised by the events. “Jamaica is indeed grateful to these staff members who continue to work under these trying circumstances, and I want to congratulate them,” Mr. Spencer said.
The hospital is operating with approximately half of its total staff complement, with five doctors in the accident and emergency unit; two surgeons and 60 registered nurses, while at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH), there are five doctors, 10 registered nurses, and four enrolled nurses. He noted that security in transporting personnel to and from the hospital continues to be a major challenge.
Mr. Spencer said that up to May 25, the KPH had dealt with 13 gunshot patients, of which 10 were males and three females. “One was a member of the security force, 12 were civilians and of these there were nine admissions and four were treated and discharged. One surgical procedure was completed and others are pending,” Mr. Spencer said. In addition, 18 dialysis treatments were done, while nine asthmatic patients were seen and sent home.
“The low turnout of doctors has affected service delivery. Solutions have to be sought to alleviate this problem,” he said.
At the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, 41 patients were discharged, and five admitted, four of whom were admitted to the labour ward. No maternal deaths were reported. Mr. Spencer informed that the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and Andrews Memorial Hospital have agreed to accept women in labour and for elected c-section. The UHWI is providing emergency services only and has reported that four persons were treated for gunshot wounds, three of whom were admitted. Meanwhile, he reported that at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, 67 children were seen in accident and emergency, mainly involving fever and asthmatic conditions, and one burn case.
The hospitals have reported no injuries to staff, and special arrangements have been made with Andrews Memorial to accept wounded members of the security forces. The South East Regional Health Authority (SEHRA) will provide staffing, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for their care. “A system of accountability will be put in place,” Mr. Spencer assured.

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