Caledonia Medical to conduct lab tests for some public hospitals

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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The Ministry of Health and Wellness has partnered with Caledonia Medical Laboratory Limited to provide laboratory tests for several public hospitals across the island.

Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, and managing director of Caledonia Medical Laboratory, Barbara Hendricks, signed the memorandum of understanding on Monday at the Ministry's New Kingston offices.

Under the agreement, Caledonia Medical Laboratory will provide microbiology services to Kingston Public Hospital, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, National Chest Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Linstead Hospital.

The tests include ear, eye, throat, nasal, sputum, urine, blood, and sterility. The provision is part of a $1-billion programme being undertaken by the Government to reduce waiting time within the public health system.

The programme, which Tufton announced in his Sectoral presentation on May 7, aims to address delays in the provision of diagnostic tests, day and inpatient surgeries, and also shortage in bed space.

Caledonia Medical Laboratory is the first entity to sign on to the diagnostic aspect of the programme. Dr Tufton said that the Government's objective is to “do away” with the practice of sending public health patients to do diagnostic tests privately, at their expense.

As such, he said that the arrangement will enable persons to access diagnostic services in the private space “but we will deal with the cost”.

“We want to be able, once we identify limited capacity, to boost our capacity by adding private providers within a transparent governance framework to add to what we do. We really believe in the partnerships and we think Caledonia clearly qualifies for this,” he said.

Under the initiative, it is intended that Jamaicans who are examined in the public health system and approved for diagnostic tests will be given the tests free of charge, even if they have to get them done by an approved private provider.

These include computerised tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, angiography, endoscopy (colonoscopy and urogenital endoscopy), and histopathology.

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