Plans in place to reopen hospital's operating theatre closed for 30 years

Plans in place to reopen hospital's operating theatre closed for 30 years

Observer writer

Friday, October 09, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says plans are in place to undertake improvement work on the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover that will result in the reopening of the operating theatre, which has been closed for about 30 years.

“Yes, there are plans to do some additional work. We want to look at it now with a renewed mandate and plan ahead to try and get that done, and the operating theatre is the priority right now as part of the addition going forward,” stated Dr Tufton.

Dr Tufton was addressing a Western Jamaica Community Leaders Meeting held in the hospital's conference room, yesterday.

The operating theatre, he said, was closed for a number of reasons. “It is a legacy issue that started long before my time. I was told that it may have had a number of reasons for it [the closure]. What I will tell you is that we are committed to reopening. A plan has been drawn up. I think there has been a budget that has been settled on. So, it is for us to move the process forward,” said the minister, who assured that the Government is committed to getting work started.

There have been calls from various organisations and the general public for the theatre to be put back in operation. The absence of a theatre was again brought to the fore with the death of a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was admitted to the hospital on September 24. She reportedly went into sudden cardiac arrest last week Monday, and efforts to resuscitate her failed.

Board chairman for the State-owned hospital, Allaine Harvey, told the Jamaica Observer that he last saw a drawing for the proposed repairs to the operating theatre about three years ago, which at that time was estimated to cost about $40 million.

He added that electrical work on the theatre was started in January of this year.

“So, it is really and truly now to look at the other aspects…and that is something that we have had discussions with the minister on, and it is something that he is aware of,” stated Harvey.

“Another critical component is human resource, because if you are going to put in a theatre, you are going to need the necessary staffing and that is a discussion that we have been having. We have been having the discussions at the parish level. We have been having the discussion at the regional [Western Regional Health Authority] level, and even though there isn't anything that we have signed off on, it is part of the consultation that would go into it, and we have commenced all of that.”

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