Fri | Feb 26, 2021

Mandeville Regional Hospital gets new lab

Published:Saturday | December 19, 2020 | 12:09 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Dr Collette Hall (second right), regional pathologist, is elated after Wilford Heaven (centre), CEO of CHASE Fund, presented her with the keys to the new Histopathology Laboratory at Mandeville Regional Hospital on Thursday. Looking on from left are Alwyn
Dr Collette Hall (second right), regional pathologist, is elated after Wilford Heaven (centre), CEO of CHASE Fund, presented her with the keys to the new Histopathology Laboratory at Mandeville Regional Hospital on Thursday. Looking on from left are Alwyn Miller, CEO of Mandeville Regional Hospital; Wayne Chen, chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority; and Wendy Coley-Haynes, president of the Lions Club of Mandeville. The project was the fruit of a partnership between the Lions Club of Mandeville and the CHASE Fund.
Participants in the launch of the Histopathology Laboratory at the Mandeville Regional Hospital release balloons at Thursday’s launch.
Participants in the launch of the Histopathology Laboratory at the Mandeville Regional Hospital release balloons at Thursday’s launch.
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Commencing next year, surgical specimens and biopsies for patients at the Mandeville Regional Hospital will no longer have to be sent to Cornwall Regional Hospital for processing, following the opening of the Histopathology Laboratory on Thursday.

This is expected to significantly reduce waiting time for test results, and will serve the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth.

The laboratory was built through the collaborative effort of the Lions Club of Mandeville, the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA).

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton thanked the partners for their joint effort, dating back to 2017, which mobilised more than $80 million towards the delivery of the lab.

“We can look forward to an on-site, optimally staffed and equipped full-service lab, capable of providing critical pathology services while also meeting standards of accreditation and fulfilling the mandate of the Ministry of Health and Wellness to, among other things, reduce cancer incidents,” he said in a recorded presentation.

Regional pathologist Dr Collette Hall recalled working as the sole pathologist, alongside one medical technologist at Cornwall, which is outside of the region, “with minimal access to needed equipment, including the basic microscope”.

Expanded their Vision

Their plight was presented to the club, which later donated a microscope and then expanded their vision.

President of the Lions Club of Mandeville Wendy Coley-Haynes shared that, when the club decided to take on the project five years ago, they had no knowledge of the enormous undertaking or funds, but had the firm conviction that the lab was urgently needed, and the courage to see it through.

Meanwhile, SRHA chairman Wayne Chen, lauded the donors for their contribution to the health region.

He shared that the facility is located on land which formerly housed the Public Works Department, which could be used to further expand the hospital, to cater to the needs of the increasing number of Jamaicans who use the medical facility.

“When I dream of what Mandeville Regional Hospital will look like in five or 10 years, it’s an ultra-modern hospital, staffed by motivated, competent and passionate service providers who are giving world-class healthcare to the people of this nation. I see all of this land utilised to this end,” Chen said.

In his keynote address, CHASE Fund Chief Executive Officer Wilford Heaven noted that $52 million was committed in 2018 to complete the laboratory and construct a storage unit to accommodate surgical specimens, tissue blocks and slides, reagents, and also storage for documents.

“Our support for the Mandeville Regional Hospital began in 2007 and, since that time, we have provided $192 million to various projects here in the region, and that is for 14 projects in total,” Heaven said, adding that they include a dialysis unit and an X-ray unit.

The CHASE CEO highlighted that, in order to improve the health of citizens, efficient health systems are required, good customer care and effective maintenance programmes.

“It must be a patient-centric perspective and approach that we adopt in delivering healthcare. Every employee of this institution is potentially a customer service rep, and you must see yourself in that light and have a customer service mindset whenever you are attending to the patients,” he appealed.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com