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Ulster Spring hospital one step closer to reality

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

The Ulster Spring Community Hospital in southern Trelawny, which is currently being upgraded, is now one step closer to being fully completed, thanks to the recent work done by community volunteers to partition the facility into usable patient-care sections.

The situation was made even more pleasing for the residents of the area, who have also got a commitment for assistance from Health Minister Horace Dalley.

Businessman Nigel Moore, the coordinator of the Ulster Spring Community Hospital's revival project, told Western Focus that a section of the facility, which was closed in 1985, has been outfitted into 13 usable areas, including 10 spaces that will be used for patient care.

"So far, we have gone in, and what was originally the female ward, we got permission to use that section. We have tiled it and partitioned it, so we have 13 areas to be used," said Moore. "There are 10 cubicles designated for health care, and then we have a nursing station and a storeroom, and another area where they can do the assessments."

"Minister Dalley is fully aware of what we are doing, although we need to get some more information to him on it because he is new to the portfolio," continued Moore. "... but he has committed himself to assist us as well. I spoke to him on Monday (January 25), and he is now on board with us as well."

Residents of Ulster Spring and neighbouring communities in southern Trelawny have been clamouring for the restoration of the health facility, which was scaled down and subsequently closed in the early 1980s, resulting in patients having to travel long distances to receive medical care in neighbouring Manchester and St Ann.

For several decades, before its closure, the Ulster Spring Community Hospital provided emergency, trauma and in-patient care to residents of Ulster Spring, Albert Town, Sawyers, Alps, Spring Gardens, Warsop and other districts that section of Trelawny.

Government promised

At the time the hospital was scaled down, the Government promised that it would have been transformed into a comprehensive and more efficient primary-care facility, to complement the Falmouth and Spaldings hospitals. The plans never materialised, resulting in the facility's infrastructure deteriorating.

Since 2013, efforts have been made to revive the community hospital through groups such as the Friends of Ulster Spring Hospital and the New Jersey- based Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAH-JAH) Foundation.

"The JAH-JAH Foundation has committed itself to assist us with getting more equipment inside here, as much equipment as we need, and we hope to finish what we're doing over the next few months to have it up and running," said Moore.

"In the meantime, we have been twinned with Rutgers University (based in New Jersey), and they have promised to send two doctors every six months, for two-week visits, to assist with the health service in the upper Trelawny area; and JAH-JAH Foundation will continue coming and we will continue to get help from the international body," added Moore.