Described as simple yet profound, the Black River Hospital in St. Elizabeth has implemented several creative solutions which have created 28 additional bed spaces.
The initiatives include the transformation of the hospital’s old maternity ward previously used as an Outpatient Clinic to an overflow Ward for Accident & Emergency patients; retrofitting of two containers to house the Outpatient Clinics and installation of a wheel chair lift to access the upper Male Ward which features a retrofitted verandah space which will house patients.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on the hospital grounds on Friday, November 11, Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) Board, Mr. Wayne Chen lauded the hospital for its creativity which has resulted in savings of $25 million. He explained that the procurement and installation of the lift costs $5.4 million while an elevator would have cost some $30 million.
CEO of the hospital, Mrs. Diana Brown-Miller said these solutions are short term as the hospital’s long term plan will guide the future infrastructural development of the facility. She added that this development will move the hospital from a Type C facility to a Type B to offer enhanced services to residents.
Mrs. Brown-Miller explained that the Black River Hospital is registered as a 97 bed facility, “however the demand for health care has seen the bed count rising to 145 and counting…in fact we have at one instant 167 admitted patients and have been running at an average monthly occupancy rate of 153 % of occupancy.” This, Mrs. Brown-Miller says has created overcrowding challenges for the hospital.
The retrofitting of containers to house the Outpatient Clinics now gives the hospital an additional twelve bed spaces to house female patients in the vacated area which housed the Clinics while the second solution is the implementation of a wheel chair lift to access the upper male ward. The lift also gives access to a renovated area which now houses an additional 16 bed spaces.
Special Advisor to the Health Minister, Dr. Stephanie Reid who represented Dr. Christopher Tufton lauded the hospital for its efforts in finding creative solutions to better serve residents of St. Elizabeth.