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Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said that he will be having discussions with the family of late former Health Minister, Dr. Herbert W. Eldemire, regarding the renaming of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in his honour.

Addressing a JIS Think Tank at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree Road offices today (April 24), Dr. Ferguson noted that the family has expressed reservations about the renaming based on what is now being said in the public space.

“We are ready to move, subject to the willingness of his family. We would not want to rename an institution after someone if his family, at this time, feels that with all that is happening, it would not be in the best interest. There will have to be some discussions with the family with a view of reaching a position,” he stated.

The Health Minister said the decision to rename the hospital in Dr. Eldemire’s honour is “not something that we should be arguing about, causing distress to the family and all other well wishers and bringing into question, the good and honourable name of the former Health Minister”.

Dr. Ferguson said that Dr. Eldemire is deserving of the honour, based on his work and worth, having served as Minister of Health from 1962 to 1972 and seeing to the modernisation of the country’s health sector in the post-independence period.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said that he will be having discussions with the family of late former Health Minister, Dr. Herbert W. Eldemire, regarding the renaming of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in his honour.

Addressing a JIS Think Tank at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree Road offices today (April 24), Dr. Ferguson noted that the family has expressed reservations about the renaming based on what is now being said in the public space.

“We are ready to move, subject to the willingness of his family. We would not want to rename an institution after someone if his family, at this time, feels that with all that is happening, it would not be in the best interest. There will have to be some discussions with the family with a view of reaching a position,” he stated.

The Health Minister said the decision to rename the hospital in Dr. Eldemire’s honour is “not something that we should be arguing about, causing distress to the family and all other well wishers and bringing into question, the good and honourable name of the former Health Minister”.

Dr. Ferguson said that Dr. Eldemire is deserving of the honour, based on his work and worth, having served as Minister of Health from 1962 to 1972 and seeing to the modernisation of the country’s health sector in the post-independence period.

He noted that in addition to his instrumentality in the setting up of the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr. Eldemire saw to the establishment of the Cornwall School of Nursing, and the introduction of the National Family Planning Programme.

Dr. Ferguson also highlighted Dr. Eldemire’s integral role in the construction of the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, the Bustamante Hospital for Children, the Dental Auxiliary School, and the Enrolled Nurses Programme.

“Dr. Eldemire also maintained a large private practice in Montego Bay for over 40 years. He dedicated his life to healing and health care, and for that, we are immensely grateful,” the Minister pointed out.

Cabinet, in October 2010, agreed for the hospital to be renamed the Herbert W. Eldemire Hospital and in 2011, approved the recommendation for the name to be amended to the Herbert W. Eldemire Regional Hospital.

This was after discussions with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Local Government, the Mayor of Montego Bay, the Minister of Labour and the Members of Parliament for St. James, and with the approval of the family.

Both the name change and the subsequent amendment have been gazetted.