A private sector initiative to construct a hospital in the Negril area, of Westmoreland, has received the nod of approval from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, with a commitment for the full support of the Government.
Named, ‘the Negril International Hospital (NIH) Wellness Centre’, construction on the proposed facility is expected to begin later this year, at an estimated cost of US$200 million.
In an address at a fundraising dinner towards the construction of the facility, at the Grand Palladium Hotel, in Lucea, Hanover, on Saturday, April 21, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, delivered an address on behalf of Prime Minister Simpson Miller. She pointed out that the initiative will undoubtedly lead to better community relations, enhance the welfare of the residents of Negril and its surrounding areas, and improve the delivery of health services in that part of the country.
“Your vision to provide a first class medical and wellness services facility to the community of residents and visitors is commendable and timely. It brings to Negril a necessary facility that will improve access and delivery of health care services to all, ”she said, adding that, “my administration supports your efforts towards building a world class hospital in Negril that will be of benefit for our citizens and our visitors, and we will play our part”.
She urged the developers to work closely with all the relevant authorities, and to follow due process, so that the venture can be successful.
Making mention of the recent announcement by the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, of plans to construct a specialist children’s Hospital in Western Jamaica, the Prime Minister noted that that project and the planned Negril International Hospital should be complimentary to each other. She added that the Negril International Hospital can be a boost to the potential of the Negril area as a health and wellness destination.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the NIH Wellness Centre Board of Directors, Winston Wellington, noted that the facility will be built in the Orange Bay area on lands for which his group is about to finalize negotiations with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
He said that when completed the facility will feature: 50 beds for inpatient care; a clinical area which will include a full scale emergency room; several operating rooms, a cardiology laboratory; a radiology department; a dialysis centre, and a heliport.
There are also plans for the facility to have an attached university-type training section for doctors and nurses. He further informed that arrangements are in place for the facility to be operated for the first 10 years by the American Management Group, out of Harvard University.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter