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    • The Government has targeted three major hospitals for service upgrades during the 2019/20 financial year.
    • These are Spanish Town, St. Catherine; May Pen, Clarendon; and St. Ann’s Bay in St. Ann.
    • Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said that the upgrades are in keeping with population expansion and the increased need for specialist medical services.

    The Government has targeted three major hospitals for service upgrades during the 2019/20 financial year.

    These are Spanish Town, St. Catherine; May Pen, Clarendon; and St. Ann’s Bay in St. Ann.

    Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said that the upgrades are in keeping with population expansion and the increased need for specialist medical services.

    He was delivering the Throne Speech to open the new legislative year at Gordon House on Thursday (February 14).

    He said that the Government will be pursuing the development of a Bill for comprehensive tobacco legislation, in keeping with the country’s obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

    The objective is to address areas not adequately covered in the existing legislation, which includes tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as well as the prohibition of sales of all forms of tobacco products to minors.

    The Governor-General said that the Government will continue to place priority on the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle in order to alleviate the effects of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on individuals and the health system.

    He informed that review of the health service delivery model will also continue, so too health financing options and governance arrangements, with the aim of improving efficiency in the system and providing better health outcomes.

    Additionally, the Government will be developing a National Policy for the Reduction of the Harmful use of Alcohol.

    The main objectives are to regulate advertising, promotion and sponsorship of alcoholic products and strengthen the health response to harmful use; reduce road traffic accidents as a result of the use of alcohol; and to monitor and evaluate the public health surveillance measures.

    Among the notable achievements in the health sector last year were operationalisation of two linear accelerator (LINAC) machines at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay; and increased access to National Health Fund (NHF) drugs at private pharmacies through the Public-Private Sector Pharmacy Programme.