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Health care delivery at the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital, in Westmoreland, should be significantly improved with a new Accident and Emergency department scheduled to be established soon.

This was announced by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, when he toured the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital and the Darliston and Williams Field Health Centres, on October 5.

Dr. Ferguson informed that the hospital saw more than 43,000 patients in 2011 in the Accident and Emergency area, and that there is need for a new unit.

The Minister also noted that refurbishing of the institution's Medical Ward is far advanced and should be completed by the end of this month (October), at a cost of approximately $20 million.      

Dr. Ferguson said that the achievements at the Savanna-la-Mar hospital are commendable. "I want to pay tribute to my pre-decessor, Mr. Rudyard Spencer, former Minister of Health, because we have had at Savanna-la-Mar, the completion of the maternity unit back in 2011. We have started work on the Medical Ward and that will increase the number from 24 to 36. We also intend to deal with the other wing in due course,” the Minister said.He commended the managers, administrators and other staff for the "tremendous work" they have done to ensure the delivery of essential health care to the residents.

"I saw significant improvements in the operating theatre… and remarkable improvements in other areas of the hospital also.  I want to congratulate the Director of Nursing Services and the Senior Medical Officer of Health at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, because when I visited the last time and what I saw today, there are definitely levels of improvement," the Minister said.

Dr. Ferguson indicated that plans are in place to bring a fleet of ambulances into the health system and that Savanna-la-Mar would be getting "its fair share" for the parish.

The Minister said he is deeply concerned about medical records, and that as a matter of urgency, "we are looking at the electronic medical record system."

"We have to move with haste to get to this system, because the paper-based system, as it is now, is inefficient, it is cumbersome and in many institutions, new dockets have to be prepared for repeat patients," he said.