JIS News

The Ministry of Health is hopeful that the full range of services offered at public hospitals and health facilities can be restored to all institutions, by next week.
“If all goes well and there is no more rain, I would say, by next week, hopefully, we should be back in order,” Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester, told JIS News.
Service at some 24 hospitals and health facilities, islandwide, were scaled down earlier this week to deal with emergencies only, consequent on severe weather triggered by Tropical Storm Nicole,. This was primarily because of challenges employees experienced commuting to work, due to flooding in their communities and damage to some of the facilities.
She confirmed that with these developments, the Ministry has to review its services and decide whether they can cope with general medical needs, or limit services to emergencies only.
“Quite a few of our health centres leaked. (Additionally) the National Blood Transfusion Services.and the Public Health Lab were impacted (and) the Spanish Town Hospital was flooded. So a number of facilities were affected. During these times, ofcourse, emergencies would be more manageable, than trying to cover everything,” she explained.
The Ministry advised that up to Thursday (September 30), about 11 of 24 institutions where services were scaled down were still limited to emergency services only. These included: the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Spanish Town, Linstead, Annotto Bay, Port Maria, Mandeville, Percy Junor, May Pen, Black River, Princess Margaret and St. Joseph’s hospitals.
Dr. Campbell Forrester explained that this resulted from a combination of factors, including flooding, leaking roofs at the facilities and staff experiencing challenges commuting to work. Despite this, however, at least one institution, the Princess Margaret Hospital, was able to offer elective surgeries.
Dr. Campbell Forrester said the Ministry will be monitoring the weather to determine when these facilities can be re-opened.
“But, we would keep the media informed as to the situation, as we do daily. As hospitals begin offering full service, we will inform the public, which is what we have been doing,” she stated.
Health facilities where full service has been restored include: Port Antonio, St. Ann’s Bay Regional, Kingston Public, Victoria Jubilee, National Chest, Savanna-la-Mar, Cornwall Regional, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Bellevue, Falmouth, Noel Holmes, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre and the Hope Institute.
In the case of Savanna-la-Mar and Cornwall Regional Hospitals, Dr. Campbell Forrester pointed out that challenges currently being experienced with the electricity supply prevents them from offering elective surgeries, at this time.
The Ministry has also advised that all staff attached to its head office King Street, downtown Kingston, should report to work on Friday (October 1). Additionally, all Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) staff should report to the Ministry’s National EOC, based at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston.

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