Tufton bats for private wing at CRH
MOUNT SALEM, St James — Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has suggested that Montego Bay’s business community explore the role it can play in having a private wing within the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH). He pointed to the Tony Thwaites Wing at the University Hospital of the West Indies as a template.
“I am putting it to the right audience that this campus should have a Tony Thwaites-equivalent wing and it is something that I think you guys need to think about. Because Tony Thwaites Wing is doing well and is always in demand. This facility [CRH] is going to be ultra-modern when it is finished because everything will be new — the equipment, everything,” stated Tufton.
The minister made the comment, Tuesday, during a tour and briefing on CRH provided to Care for Cornwall Regional, a group of business interests within the western city that shadows and oversees activities at the health facility.
He was responding to a question from a member of the group who wanted to know if it is realistic to support free health care.
“I do believe that there is a place for a private wing. I know it’s a good time to explore that, admit that works. Because there is enough of you guys around and others, including tourists, [that] don’t want to pay through insurance and it benefits all [even those who do not pay],” stated Tufton, who received support from those in attendance.
The minister said a privately-funded wing could assist in subsidising other services offered at the hospital. He is confident that there is enough room at CRH.
“We have enough space to find a way to make it happen,” said Tufton.
The Tony Thwaites Wing is a private facility at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where patients pay for services received. However, it does not operate independently of the public health care system.
“In a sense, it’s cross-fertilised by the University Hospital of the West Indies, where doctors in the University Hospital service the patients there,” explained Tufton.
Co-chair of Care for Cornwall Regional, Brian Jardim thinks the health minister’s suggestion is worthy of consideration.
“I think it will be worth looking at. There’s a lot of private medical [facilities]/hospital providers around the world. I’ve seen one in the Cayman Islands that is very well done. So, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Or you can invite in talents to carry out this sort of opportunity. Maybe the business sector may see it as a partnership opportunity as well. It will also crossover with tourism. Tourists will need those services,” he said.
The CRH is currently undergoing a $14.1-billion rehabilitation. The completion date is now set for mid-2026.
Poor maintenance was blamed for the condition the institution was in before repairs began.
Tufton said now is the time to involve all, including the group that toured the facility, in the conversation about what the final product will look like.
“I think the landscaping is something that we’re going to have to take a look at. Talk to people, TEF [Tourism Enhancement Fund] and others, to see, to make the place look the part, feel the part, and we’re there as a wellness team. So, this is not just a place to come to heal, it’s a place to come that you get mental health and wellness,” said the minister.