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Tufton: CRH to enter final phase of rehab before reoccupation

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2023 | 12:43 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
From left: Project manager and architect Vivian Gordon; St Andrade Sinclair, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority; and Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton on a tour of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St J
From left: Project manager and architect Vivian Gordon; St Andrade Sinclair, regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority; and Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton on a tour of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James, last Friday to examine the progress of ongoing rehabilitation work.

WESTERN BUREAU:

HEALTH AND Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has revealed that a new contractor is to be engaged before the current fiscal year ends, to complete the third and final stage of rehabilitation works at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).

Engineering firm M&M Jamaica, which spearheaded the construction of Emancipation Park in St Andrew and Harmony Beach Park in St James, is now wrapping up work under its $1.7-billion contract at CRH after 12 months.

The scope of work includes strengthening structural beams that had started to deteriorate, and the rehabilitation of other supporting systems to make the 10-storey hospital building, which was built in 1974, structurally sound.

Tufton noted that the final phase of work will comprise the installation of electrical fixtures and piping for oxygen, among other things such as procuring and outfitting the building with furniture and equipment.

“What is happening now is that the building is being completely gutted. The structure has been reinforced, as you would have seen. Then, when that is complete, what you would have is the frame of the building,” Tufton pointed out during a tour of the facility last Friday.

“... When that frame is completed and there’s confidence in it, then a final stage now is going into putting in the windows, the doors, the partitions, the offices, the AC (air conditioning), the electricals, the piping, and that’s now the final phase before the occupation,” he explained.

The health and wellness minister said the ministry is working towards facilitating partial reoccupation of the main building before year-end, with the project to be wrapped up next year.

“Discussions are taking place to engage [a contractor] or to begin that third phase, which we are hoping will start before March,” said Tufton.

The CRH is western Jamaica’s sole Type A medical facility. It provides comprehensive secondary and tertiary healthcare services, and serves as the referral centre for other western hospitals, both in the public and private health systems.

The main hospital building has been closed since 2016 as a result of health-related and structural issues, which started with noxious fumes forcing the relocation of medical services to other areas across the compound.

But, with approximately $14.7 billion already being spent in building out what Tufton has touted as “a brand-new hospital”, he was not in a position to say what the value of the new contract will be.

“The budget is still being finalised. ... There’s a team that went to China to [have] further discussions, so I can’t comment on the budget. But what it means, essentially, is that we’re really building a new hospital; that’s what it’s going to ultimately mean because, as you saw up there, there’s nothing in the building,” said Tufton. “The building has been totally gutted, so everything that’s going in will be new, including equipment, and that’s a positive thing.”

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com