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JAMAICA | Health Minister orders security review at public hospitals

Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jul. 24, CMC – Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton says an audit of security protocols at some public hospitals will be carried out by the government.
Dr. Christopher Tufton

According to Tufton, the audit, to be conducted shortly, will nbc done at several institutions at are located in a areas where there are incidents of gang related violence.

“At the health care level, we have to do more to reassure our workers and to ensure that you feel safe in carrying out your duties,” he told health workers at a recent event in that western parish of St. James.

Tufton said that while there are  ongoing discussions at the policy level to resolve this issue, the audit is one of the initial measures being undertaken to ensure the safety of health workers in these facilities.

“The reality is some locations are riskier than others, so we have to assess what we already have in place and what we need to put in place to enhance the sense of personal security of the individuals who work in these institutions as well as the security of the infrastructure that is so critical to the citizens of the community,” he said.

The Health Minister said the government now spends over J$100 million annually on contracting private security for public health facilities and the audit will seek to provide a tailored ‘needs assessment’ for these public facilities.

The hospitals include the Kingston Public Hospital in the Corporate Area the Cornwall Regional Hospital and Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in the west of the island and the St Ann’s Bay Hospital in the northern parish of St. Ann.

The health minister says medical personnel in public facilities should at all times be able to function and make decisions uninfluenced by external forces.

He is urging healthcare workers undergoing psychological trauma to seek counseling  – and  said that medical personnel in public facilities should at all times be able to function and make decisions uninfluenced by external forces.

Tufton has also urged  healthcare workers undergoing psychological trauma to seek counseling.

Meanwhile, the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) believes that armed security guards should be stationed at all hospitals.

In an interview with Radio Jamaica, NAJ President  Janet Coore Farr said security measures at hospitals need to be strengthened, given the magnitude of the crime threat on health institutions.

“I understand the concept of having a hospital without armed security because they don’t want to put the patients and staffers in harm’s way having security guards with arms, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to get to that, because it’s just absolutely crazy what happens now in the institutions – KPH (Kingston Public Hospital) Cornwall Regional, Spanish Town Hospital – those those places are not safe,” she said.

Between January and April of this year, the Health Ministry says hospitals treated close to 5,000 trauma cases.

These included over 500 stab wounds, close to 280 gun shot wounds and 3,944 injuries due to road crashes.

Most of the trauma cases were treated at facilities in the western end of the island.

  • Countries: Jamaica