Gager calls for upgrading of Falmouth Public General Hospital

Gager calls for upgrading of Falmouth Public General Hospital

Observer West reporter

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny -Mayor of Falmouth Colin Gager says the time has now come for the Falmouth Public General Hospital in Trelawny— a type C facility— be upgraded as it has for some time now been offering services outsourced from the type A Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.

Type A hospitals provide comprehensive secondary and tertiary health care services and are referral centres for hospitals, both in the public and private health systems. Type B hospitals provide primary and secondary health care services, while type C hospitals provide primary care services and basic secondary care services.

“A lot of the services and procedures that would normally be performed at the Cornwall Regional Hospital are now being offered here at the Falmouth hospital. I think that the Falmouth hospital is definitely punching above its weight, so to speak, therefore I am of the view that it should be upgraded to at least a type B facility,” Gager told the Jamaica Observer West following a contract signing between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Rogers Land Development Limited on the grounds of the Falmouth Public General Hospital for a field hospital for COVID-19 patients last Friday.

Two years ago, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton expressed similar sentiments that the Falmouth facility should be upgraded.

“Falmouth hospital is ripe for upgrading in terms of the services that you provide. The time has come and we need to look towards that in the not too distant future,” Dr Tufton said then.

“Falmouth has become a satellite location for Cornwall [Regional Hospital] in a number of the services, and you have done well.”

Following the crisis at Cornwall Regional Hospital in 2016 due to air quality issues, bed spaces and operating theatres were increased at the Falmouth hospital to accommodate services usually provided by the St James-based facility.

In 2018, Dr Tufton argued that the crisis at Cornwall Regional Hospital has resulted in the bed count at the Falmouth Public General Hospital climbing from 87 beds to over 120 and the creation of additional operating theatres from two to four. He also noted that the Trelawny facility benefited from more staff, some from Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Last week, at the contract signing for the establishment of two additional field hospitals for COVID-19 patients— one at the Falmouth Public General Hospital and the other at the St Joseph's in Kingston, it was noted that the $199-million project will provide 36 beds each for COVID-19 patients at the Trelawny and Kingston facilities.

And noting that the pandemic will not be permanent, Minister Tufton pointed out that the Falmouth hospital will benefit from the 36-bed facility after the passing of the pandemic.

Gager, who expressed his regret at the circumstances which have given rise to the field hospitals, however, concurred with the health minister that the disease will not be around forever.

“The COVID won't be with us forever and so we will have the extra beds,” he remarked.

Custos of Trelawny Paul Muschett expressed similar sentiments.

“The building of this field hospital is a welcome addition to the infrastructure of the Falmouth hospital. Despite the circumstances which have led to the necessity of this structure, I know that when this pandemic is over the building will continue to be a valuable asset to the parish,” said Custos Muschett.

In the meantime, Gager, who is also the chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, gave the commitment that the municipality will be working with other agencies to ensure that the approval process for the construction of the field hospital runs smoothly.

“On behalf of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation I want to assure you that we will do everything in our powers, working with the other agencies, to make sure that the earliest approval date is settled so that this project can continue in this pandemic that we are going through,” said Gager.

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