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MoBay stakeholders want field hospital to support CRH

Published:Monday | December 14, 2020 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Gloria Henry, president of the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ), is calling for the establishment of a field hospital in Montego Bay to supplement the scaled-down services being offered by the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), which has been undergoing major restoration after a noxious-fumes issue emerged in 2016.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Montego Bay being a critical hub in both the tourism and outsourcing sectors, Henry feels that with CRH not functioning at full capacity, it is critical to strengthen the existing situation to handle whatever situation might emerge.

“I would suggest that they set up one of the field hospitals we have heard about here [in Montego Bay], to provide additional capacity for the west and to support the existing situation at the CRH,” said Henry, while speaking at Friday’s Gleaner/Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce virtual Editors’ Forum.

The Government announced in September that four field hospitals would be built across the country to help treat COVID patients. One has already been opened at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston, while work is being done on another two at St Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston, and the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny.

However, in looking at the strategic importance of Montego Bay and the kind of dislocation any emergency situations could cause, Henry, who has been a passionate advocate for the western city on many major issues, feels the extra accommodations the field hospital could offer would lighten the workload of the CRH staff.

“It is not just the persons who are seeking healthcare that are of concern,” said Henry. “We are also concerned for the staff at CRH because they are stressed; working long hours, overburdened, and the facilities are really not adequate for them. So, I believe that additional capacity would help them to carry out their work in an easier and more humane manner,” said Henry.

Whitter suggests improving smaller facilities

Montego Bay-based businesswoman Angella Whitter, a renowned philanthropist, is suggesting that some of the smaller medical facilities in the western city should improve and upgrade their services, as the Falmouth Hospital, which has been taking medical cases from the CRH since the noxious-fumes issue emerged, cannot adequately meet the extra load brought on by patients coming from Montego Bay.

“We would like to hear more about what other facilities are there, because Falmouth Hospital is not capable of assisting in the needs and requirements of the citizens of Montego Bay and its environs. An opportunity presents itself for some of the smaller facilities that operate in Montego Bay to boost or update their facilities to do more value-added service for the community,” said Whitter.

The CRH’s restoration work was previously scheduled for completion this month. However, in October, the Professor Archibald McDonald-led committee overseeing the restoration project announced that the work would likely be finished in late 2021 or early 2022 due to the COVID pandemic affecting the work’s progression.