Training For Staff of Infirmaries

Photo: Dave Reid Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (third left) cuts the ribbon to officially open the new housing facility at the St. Catherine Infirmary in Spanish Town on October 5. Assisting from left are: Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton; Portmore Mayor, Leon Thomas; Senior Vice President of Customer Services at the Jamaica Public Service Company, Ramsay McDonald; Chairperson of the Poor Relief Department, Keisha Lewis; and Spanish Town Mayor, Councillor Norman Scott.

Story Highlights

  • Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says a programme of training for those employed to infirmaries will be instituted across the island. 
  • In his remarks, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said infirmaries represent an important part of the provision of social protection for some vulnerable groups in the society.
  • During the opening ceremony, Petreen Matthews, a private donor, handed over five 32inch television sets, socks and other items.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says a programme of training for those employed to infirmaries will be instituted across the island.

The initiative is being undertaken as part of measures to heighten the skill levels of those employed in the facilities.

“Once we have done that training, we are going to be undertaking an evaluation of all the persons who are employed in our infirmaries across the country,” Mr. McKenzie said.

He was speaking on October 5, at the official opening ceremony of the new facility constructed on the grounds of the St. Catherine Infirmary to house social cases at the Spanish Town Hospital.

The project was constructed at a cost of $12 million and was completed in partnership with the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation and the National Health Fund. The new housing facility will contain 40 beds.

A total of $4 million was donated by the Health Ministry and the NHF towards the completion of the project.

Meanwhile, Minister McKenzie said that infirmaries will be “undergoing significant changes over the next couple of months” noting that in this financial year, close to $400 million (is being spent) on them, across the island.

“We’re putting in state-of-the art equipment into most of our infirmaries. We are also changing the name in book or in the laws of the country from alms-house and we’re giving it a new name and look,” he said.

He also informed that a Memorandum of Understanding is being worked on with the Ministry of Health to have at least two more new housing facilities constructed at infirmaries.

“We will then be providing the funds working with the Ministry of Health to construct a similar facility in Westmoreland starting in November. Clarendon is also on the (table) as we move right across the country to free up bed spaces,” he said.

In his remarks, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said infirmaries represent an important part of the provision of social protection for some vulnerable groups in the society.

“So it was only fitting and logical to get involved to make the new housing facility possible,” he said.

“Right now we have some 40 or so social cases at the Spanish Town Hospital (and) nationally we have over 350 such cases. If we have just under 4,000 beds across the country and we have nearly 400 persons living in the hospitals…it is almost 10 per cent of our bed capacity. People who cannot get a bed have to be sitting down and waiting,” he added.

Dr. Tufton commended Minister McKenzie for his leadership and lauded the Mayor of Spanish Town, Norman Scott for the work done on the infirmary.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Spanish Town Hospital, Dwayne Francis said the new housing facility is timely as it will help “alleviate the challenges” of overcrowding experienced by the hospital.

During the opening ceremony, Petreen Matthews, a private donor, handed over five 32inch television sets, socks and other items.

JIS Social