Regional

Ground broken for diagnostic centre at Cornwall Regional

...move aims to cut costs for diagnostic services

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — In a move aimed at cutting expenses after spending nearly $60 million to outsource diagnostic services from the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) last year, ground has been broken for the construction of a diagnostic centre on the compound of the 'Type A' hospital which is locared in western Jamaica.

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton at the grounbd-breaking ceremony promised that the facility is to be up and running before the end of the year.

“Because of the challenges that we faced, we have had to spend a lot of money on outsourcing diagnostic services. I looked at some of the costs here, and it is quite excessive. Outsourcing X-rays in 2017 cost us $21 million; CT scans at private facilities $37.5 million, so we have had to spend this money because of the challenges with the main facility,” Dr Tufton explained.

“The team met, they looked at the layout of the finished product, decided that we would save by constructing a new facility and developing a stand-alone diagnostic centre, which would be next door to the A&E (Accident and Emergency Department). So it is logistically a good move, but even after the completion of the main building, it will add significant capacity to the overall layout of the facility. So, it is all-round, a very positive development and therefore it ties in very nicely with what we are trying to do.”

The breaking of ground for the diagnostic centre forms part of the activities which the health minister participated in at CRH last Thursday, as he also opened the new A&E unit, located near the site of the diagnostic centre and also introduced the Compassionate Care Programme.

Following the relocation of services from the main building, which was closed about two years ago after developing air pollution challenges, A&E services were transferred to the Mount Salem Clinic on the premises.

The health minister argued that the facility was not perfectly suited to offer the service.

“We took the Mount Salem Clinic and converted it into an A&E facility but the fact is, that facility was never built as an A&E, so again the inconveniences would have been obvious.

“We took the decision, recognising the need for A&E as a critical part of any hospital operation to double that capacity and to expand,” Dr Tufton expressed.

The Compassionate Care Programme forms part of the thrust by the Ministry of Health to improve the quality of service and the standard of care in public hospitals and health centres across the island.

The initiative seeks to utilise the services of volunteers to improve the everyday care of patients in the public health system and to enhance the psychological wellness of patients as a means of promoting speedy recovery.

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