Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Bye-bye, Bustamante - St James mother thrilled that new hospital will save time and money

Published:Thursday | October 24, 2019 | 1:28 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


For Lisa Polack, yesterday’s groundbreaking for the new 220-bed Western Children and Adolescents Hospital in Montego Bay was a welcome development as she reflected on the difficulties she once faced making the long trek to the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston, where her son was once a patient.

By May 2021, when the hospital is slated to be completed, she will no longer have to travel the more than 120 miles to Kingston, which is both time-consuming and expensive. It would take her about half an hour from her Adelphi, St James, home to the facility, which will be located on the grounds of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).

Construction of the hospital, which is being funded by the Chinese government, started prior to yesterday’s exercise, which had Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Chinese Ambassador Tian Qi in attendance.

The seven-floor facility will have space for 220 beds, plus an in-house pharmacy, an emergency room, and a dialysis room. There will also be administrative offices, a food court, and accommodation for persons who will be working at the hospital.

Pressure off parents

This multidimensional building will suit Polack, who still has vivid memories of having to make regular trips to Bustamante Hospital, to which her son was transferred from CRH after he fractured his skull, requiring specialised care.

“My son had fallen and cracked his skull, but CRH didn’t have the facilities to accommodate him because of the injury and because he was a child. That’s why they transferred him to Bustamante Hospital,” Polack told The Gleaner.

“It was terrifying at first, coming from Montego Bay, and I was scared to bring him down to Bustamante Hospital. But after I went down there, it was all right,” Polack said. “But if they had a facility like that in Montego Bay, it would be easier and take some of the pressure off the parents.”

At yesterday’s groundbreaking, the prime minister, in his keynote address, said the finished hospital would improve Jamaica’s ranking on the global human development index.

“Jamaica’s score is 0.732, which places us at 97 out of 189 countries ranked, and this hospital alone that we’re breaking ground for, I am sure it will move us about two or three places up,” said Holness.

In announcing the plans for the groundbreaking in September, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton stated that final approval of the designs by the municipal corporation was expected in short order, paving the way for the start of construction.