Tufton, Guy against Cornwall Regional field hospitalSunday, January 17, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
MOUNT SALEM, St James — Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says there is no need for a general purpose field hospital for Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) here to assist with augmenting the services offered at the Type A facility.
“We are not of the view that we need a [general purpose] field hospital at this point in time,” stated the minister, who noted that a COVID-19 field hospital currently being constructed in Falmouth, Trelawny, will be ready by mid-February. He said this facility will take on the excess capacity for any overflow in the region.
Dr Tufton was responding to a recent suggestion made by president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janet Silvera, who insisted that a field hospital for the ailing CRH, which is currently undergoing renovation, was needed.
“We believe a field hospital for CRH would be effective as the hospital serves the entire western region and was already overburdened before the pandemic. Such a facility would enhance the ability of CRH to better serve the increase in patients, both for COVID-19 and other illnesses. This would alleviate the stress on the limited offerings from the present hospital,” stated Silvera.
Dr Tufton noted that while more could be done, the hospital was still providing services.
“We should not confuse the incomplete nature of the building with the service provision of the hospital, because the services are still there,” stated Dr Tufton, who added, “I am not saying that we can't add one or two things – I would love to see us do a little more surgery, [there are] maybe one and two areas that we could add to facilitate the supporting infrastructure and so on. But to build a field hospital as a replacement for what is here, we don't think we are there yet at this point in time.”
Opposition spokesman on health Dr Morais Guy told the Jamaica Observer that while he supports a hospital that will benefit the people, he is not too eager about a field hospital when taking into consideration that one is being built in Falmouth.
“Any hospital that may redound to the people of Cornwall, whether it is a COVID field hospital or a field hospital for general purposes, then certainly. But, as it relates to a COVID field hospital, I would have to see what the data is suggesting, and particularly so in light of the fact that one is being built at Falmouth for the Cornwall region. I am not too gung-ho on that.”
The CRH has in place a block on the compound which is designated for COVID-19 patient care.
Clinical coordinator at CRH Dr Delroy Fray told the Sunday Observer that CRH was managing its cases well with the assistance of an infectious disease expert. He, however, noted that while the idea is a good one, the plan is to have the field hospital in Falmouth serve the region.
“The ideal is to segregate COVID patients from the other patients, which makes sense, but remember, we are trained to do that. We have a team to do that at Cornwall so I don't think that we are unduly exposing anybody in the current situation because we are trained to deal with that sort of thing,” stated Dr Fray.
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