Regional

Christmas gifts for Percy Junor

Courts, Negril International Hospital make big donations

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 16, 2013    

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SPALDING, Clarendon — True to the spirit of the Yuletide season, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen came bearing gifts when he and his wife, Lady Allen, visited the Percy Junor Hospital recently.

In response to requests from King's House — the official home of the governor general — furniture giant Courts donated $1.3 million towards equipment for the hospital, which is located on the border of north-west Clarendon and north-east Manchester.

Additionally, the Negril International Hospital — an entity dedicated to the building of a hospital in Negril, western Jamaica — contributed 23 pieces of medical equipment. Also, some patients received assorted gifts.

A King's House spokesman told the Jamaica Observer Central that down the years, governors general have assisted public medical institutions during end-of-year visits with material support sought from private sector entities.

"The reality is that the real cost of health care cannot be funded solely from government budgetary resources...," said Sir Patrick.

"Publicly owned and operated hospitals welcome the generosity of friends, individuals and organisations whose support help to supplement their budget and enable them to offer critical services on an ongoing basis," he added.

On the recent visit, Sir Patrick and Lady Allen toured the male surgical ward and the female surgical and medical wards.

Lady Allen, a nurse by profession, also visited the Children's Ward.

Sir Patrick accepted the invitation of chairman of the Hospital Management Committee and People's National Party caretaker for North East Manchester Valenton Wint to become a member of the Friends of the Percy Junor Hospital .

Earl McLaughlin, chief executive officer of the 68-year-old institution, told the Observer Central that the private voluntary Friends of the Hospital have been contributing "quite significantly" to the development efforts at the facility.

Board member of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) Beryl Rochester said that the staff, infrastructure and supplies at Percy Junor have been stretched to "near breaking point", and the oganisation has sought to foster and nurture all helpful partnerships.

"...The business of health is not just the responsibility of the ministry (of health) or the minister (of health). .... Sooner or later it becomes very personal, so it's the business of all of us," she said.

The governor general commended the institution for its work. He made special mention of the handling of mass road casualties involving students travelling on public transportation.

The most recent case was in September when more than 30 students were rushed to the Percy Junor Hospital for treatment after two minibuses in which they were passengers collided with a truck.

Four students of Holmwood Technical High School, including the relative of a Percy Junor staff member, died in the accident.

Hospital administrators said that among the plans for the facility is a $330-million project for the expansion of the cramped Accident and Emergency Department.

With the aim being to make Percy Junor Hospital the standard by which other health institutions are judged, McLaughlin said staff members were being exposed to customer service training. Regular in-service training was being carried out in respective departments and study leave is granted to staffers wanting to enhance their skills. The hospital has also sought to branch out in different areas of medicine such as laparoscopic surgery.

McLaughlin said the visit of Sir Patrick and Lady Allen was "historic" for the hospital, which serves Manchester, Clarendon, Trelawny, and St Ann .

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