SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The chronic shortage of space at the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital will soon be alleviated as plans are in the pipeline to expand the facility come next financial year, said Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.
The transformation of the building will see an additional 70 to 80 bed spaces, which will take the bed count past 260.
Dr Tufton, who was touring the facility on Thursday, told the Jamaica Observer that the ministry had not done enough for the hospital structure.
"The focus of the tour and the discussion is around how we will improve the infrastructure here at Sav hospital," Dr Tufton admitted.
"Truthfully, we haven't done as much as we'd like to for the hospital infrastructure in the parish of Westmoreland, so we now have a new management team. We have a team that is ready to lead the process."
In October, the chief medical officer for the hospital Camille Lewin stated that they were in a "real crisis" as bed spaces were lacking.
"Our hospital has a capacity of 190, this month we're at 284, plus five babies. Last weekend we got to 291," Lewin explained then.
Dr Tufton revealed that the COVID-19 outpatient facility will be transformed into wards.
He, however, pointed at one challenge that lies ahead.
"The challenge there is how do we relocate the outpatient clinics which are now in the COVID wards?"
He said they will seek to re-engage the municipality to seal that arrangement once more.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Ian Myles said he, too, is excited for the upcoming plans for the hospital.
"Today is a great day for the parish of Westmoreland. Westmoreland has been in the news, especially this hospital, for quite some time now for overcrowding. With the minister just announcing that we are going to see expansion and upgrade to this facility, that in itself sends chills through my body," Myles expressed.