Jamaica Observer / THE Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Linstead Hospital in St Catherine was officially reopened this week, following extensive renovation at a cost of $144.98 million. The work, undertaken through funding from the National Health Fund (NHF), included infrastructural upgrades, new furniture and equipment, installation of new air conditioning, upgrading of the medical gas system, added amenities for staff, spacious area for patients, and comfortable treatment and examination rooms.
The project is intended to meet the high demand for emergency treatment and improve the quality of patient care.
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, who reopened the facility, pointed out that eight hospitals have had their A&E units upgraded and others will be expanded over the next financial year.
Meanwhile, Dr Tufton said strategies to reduce waiting time at public health facilities are bearing fruit.
The measures include improving customer service and assessment, redirecting non-emergency cases to the closest designated primary care health centre, and extending the opening hours of clinics by up to five hours.
“We have seen improvement — a reduction of up to 50 per cent in the waiting time in those hospitals where we have put that mechanism in place,” the minister said.
He noted that customer service has also improved at the facilities and work is under way to upgrade the skills of individuals doing pre-screening of patients.
Chief Executive Officer of the NHF Everton Anderson said upgrading of the Linstead Hospital A&E will enable the facility to treat more people, reducing the need for them to travel to Spanish Town and Kingston for such care.
“Jamaicans will continue to see improvement in health facilities by the work of the Fund,” Anderson pledged.
Member of Parliament for St Catherine North Western, Robert Pickersgill, who was also on hand, welcomed the improved facility.