Improving economy will mean more investment in health care — Holness
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Pointing to plans to acquire nearby land and expand the heavily used Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is seeking to assure Jamaicans that as the country’s economy improves his Administration will make greater investment in the health-care system.
His comments came following a tour of the Type 5 facility located on Payne Street on Monday. The prime minister noted that lands once used by the old Ice Factory will be used for the expansion. It will make up the administrative block and the existing structure will be used solely for medical care.
“Minister [of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher] Tufton has just announced that we will be acquiring this property and we will be expanding that Type Five health facility. So, what it means is that the capacity for early intervention in health crisis will be expanded in our primary care,” the prime minister stated.
According to Tufton, 67,000 individuals received medical help at the facility last year.
There are often complaints about inefficiencies in the health-care system, the condition of State-run facilities and the level of service provided. Holness anticipates that completion of ongoing projects such as refurbishing of Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and construction of the Adolescent Children’s Hospital in the western city will help address some complaints.
“Having fixed the economy, having put it on a better track, we are now taking the dividends of that, the proceeds of that, and we are allocating into the areas that matter to the people: your health care,” he told journalists and onlookers gathered at the clinic on Monday.
He stressed that the shortcomings within the health system have existed for years.
“Remember, these challenges weren’t created overnight. From I’ve been in politics, it has always been the complaint. From I’ve been serving the people of the country, that has always been the complaint,” said Holness.
“What has changed is that for the first time Government can make not just short-term allocations, but we can make massive long-term budget commitments to health,” he added.
Holness was, however, quick to highlight that while there are improvements being made, they may take some time to be reflected.
“That process will take some time before you actually feel it in the service you receive, but once it is done we would have moved our healthcare from one level to another,” he promised.
He said work being done at CRH is in “the final phase of the development” and the “building has been restored to better than its original conditions”.
“There will be more modern services offered with more modern facilities. No question, it will be a credit to our health system and certainly for the people in and around this region, they will benefit.”
“Right beside it is a brand new facility, the adolescent children hospital which I’m certain will become a regional hospital. It will have advanced specialists and advanced care, so the people of this region, and indeed the entire Jamaica, will benefit significantly from this, a great addition to our health care,” he added.
Holness also spoke of other developments planned for other parts of the island.
“Later on this month we will be breaking ground for a massive upgrade refurbishing and construction of new buildings at the Spanish Town Hospital, where I was born,” he remarked.
“We are going to be building two new Type Five health facilities, one in Portmore and one in Old Harbour and these will be modern facilities,” he added.