T he Government has earmarked millions of dollars for the upgrading of health facilities in the parish of Clarendon. Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that some $240 million has been approved for work at May Pen Hospital; $132 million for the May Pen West Health Centre; and another $20 million for the Mocho clinic.
He said that these projects are in addition to the $200-million worth of work now underway at Chapelton Community Hospital through donor funds and Government input, which will add some 30 hospital beds to the parish.
The upgrading works, Dr Tufton explained, form “part of the continuum between primary and secondary health care” and will better enable the parish’s health system to respond to the needs of residents.
Dr Tufton was speaking at the recent handing over of a C-Arm machine, valued at $10 million, by the Government of Japan to May Pen Hospital.
Turning to other matters, he said that the health and wellness ministry is close to concluding arrangements with the local government and community development ministry to find alternative living spaces for social patients being accommodated at hospitals.
He noted that more than 200 hospital beds are occupied by these social cases, contributing to a shortage of bed space in the public health system.
“For every one social case living in the hospital, we deprive 49 other patients access to a bed over a one-year period for five days or less. The 200 social cases across Jamaica also deprive nearly 10,000 persons from having a bed in the hospital. That is significant when you have someone who occupies a bed and has become a guest of a public health institution; it was not intended for that,” Dr Tufton said.
Meanwhile, the minister said the Government is working to reduce wait time for critical services under a new partnership arrangement, which will see patients being sent to private facilities for certain laboratory and diagnostic tests and surgeries, at no cost to them.
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