KINGSTON – The Ministry of Health has earmarked some $30 million to boost security arrangements at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine.
The measure comes in the wake of the invasion of the hospital by armed men last week, who reportedly robbed staff and patients or cash and jewelry.
Hours after the incident, Health Minister, Rudyard Spencer, instructed the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) to review security arrangements at the facility and to take steps to make the necessary improvements.
Addressing journalists during a tour of the facility on March 18, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Jean Dixon informed that the money for the undertaking was redirected from other projects, which were slated to be implemented within the sector.
“We have identified the funding…and we are actually redirecting resources. We had some projects that have been approved for implementation, we had not yet started the implementation so we are going to give priority attention to improving the facilities here,” she said.
The measures to be undertaken include addressing periphery fencing and lighting, the paving of areas, raising the walls, and restricting access to some areas.
Dr. Dixon informed that the services of the National Works Agency (NWA) will be utilised to ensure that the physical infrastructure works “will be implemented quickly, within time and within budget."
She stated that the tour reassured her that the arrangements to be put in place are appropriate for the security of the premises.
The touring party also included Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry, Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller; Chairman of SERHA, Lyttleton Shirley; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spanish Town Hospital, Mark Martin; and Director of Nursing Services at the hospital, Valda Lawrence-Campbell.
Some of the areas toured included the Accident and Emergency Department; the King of Spain Ward; and the Queen Sofia of Spain Women’s Centre.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON