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The National Chest Hospital in Kingston has benefitted from some $60 million in equipment and renovations, said Health and Environment Minister, Rudyard Spencer.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry’s downtown Kingston offices on February 13, Mr. Spencer informed that the improvements to the building and the procurement of equipment were consequent on recommendations made by a special committee, established in July 2008, to review the hospital’s operations.
The Minister explained that the review looked at several areas, including the state of the operating theatre, equipment, human resources, and various systems and protocols.
He said the review found, among other things, that the general infrastructure of the hospital was in poor condition; there was poor communication at all levels; and the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) had not established an effective system to monitor medical staff, in the performance of their duties.
“The committee made recommendations relating to: the strengthening of systems; reviewing or introducing benchmarks for critical services; the reconfiguration of services to ensure optimal care, and improving communications,” he outlined.
“Works such as painting, repairs to bathrooms and residences, were undertaken. A number of equipment has been ordered valued at US$55,000, including endoscopes, stretchers, and ECG machines,” the Health Minister informed.
Mr. Spencer also advised of staff changes, with the Chief Executive Officer opting for early retirement, the Regional Director declining to renew her contract, with a temporary appointment occupying the latter position, until a replacement is recruited. He said that he would be convening an early meeting with the Chairman of SERHA to address other staff issues.
“We are taking the findings and recommendations (of the committee) seriously, and we have acted with expedition in implementing (them). The programme of transformation that the Ministry is undertaking, involves the strengthening of the Regional Health Authorities (and) the improvement of the monitoring mechanisms at the central and regional levels.
“We remain committed to providing quality health care to the people of Jamaica, and taking timely actions to ensure that our governance mechanisms are robust and adhered to by our staff at all levels,” Mr. Spencer stated.