MINISTER of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie says that expansion work on the Portland Infirmary is “moving smoothly”.
The minister, who visited the institution during a tour of the parish last Friday, said that over the past three years, approximately $85 million has been spent on the upgrading project, which includes the building of male and female wards.
“We are at the completion of the second phase of the infirmary… and this is part of the Government's programme, which we started in 2016, for the upgrading of several infirmaries across the island with funding from the National Housing Trust,” he said.
He said that although the project has been affected by heavy rains in the parish, it remains within budget and the time specified for completion.
Minister McKenzie said he is “very pleased and satisfied” with the quality of the work, noting that the project represents the best skills and competences that exist in the ministry and the Portland Municipal Corporation.
Meanwhile, he said that while no new residents are being accepted at the island's infirmaries at this time, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, he indicated that a protocol is being worked on with the Ministry of Health “to take in new cases, especially the ones who are occupying critical bed spaces in hospitals”.
Secretary of the Board of Supervision, Treka Lewis, who was also on the tour, said that upgrading the Portland Infirmary will ensure improved “service delivery and optimal care for our residents”.
Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern Ann-Marie Vaz, for her part, hailed the improvement work on the infirmary as a “commitment to care for the vulnerable” by the Government, and “I am very proud”.
Mayor of Port Antonio Councillor Paul Thompson, and matron at the facility, Carmelita Holson also expressed pleasure with the work being done.