WATCH: Savanna-La-Mar hospital in ‘crisis’ as patients outnumber available beds
Entrance to the Savanna-La-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland.

WESTMORELAND, Jamaica - The current situation at the Savanna-La-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland has been declared a 'crisis' due to the overflow of patients, surpassing the available bed space. This surge is reportedly primarily driven by a significant increase in respiratory-related illnesses and social cases.

Additionally, the hospital is grappling with a shortage of doctors.

Camille Lewin, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the hospital, revealed in an interview with Observer Online that the hospital has surpassed its designed capacity.

She stated, "Our hospital has a capacity of 190, but this month we're accommodating 284 patients, plus five babies. Last weekend, we got to 291," Lewin emphasised.

Nurse Imani Campbell disclosed that the staff is overwhelmed as the patient-to-nurse ratio is imbalanced.

"For the past two months it has been rough and hard because the patient count has increased," Campbell said.

Lewin says the hospital has sprung into solution mode, and so they have converted the Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting area into a make-shift ward.

"We're doing as much as we can to alleviate the challenges. We have converted our A&E waiting area into somewhere that our patients can be more relaxed and comfortable - those that are awaiting admission,” she said.

She revealed that hoteliers donated 11 beach chairs to the hospital, five of which have been placed in the A&E waiting area.

However, she is renewing her appeal to families who have neglected their loved ones, to make preparations for them to alleviate the burden on the hospital.

- Kimberley Peddie

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