My heart wept | JLP councillor decries bed shortage at ‘first class’ hospital

Councillor for the Brown’s Town Division in St Ann Kim Brown Lawrence has decried the agony patients are made to bear at St Ann Bay Regional Hospital in the parish due to a shortage of beds.

The councillor, who is a member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), said she made the observation a few days ago when she visited Brown’s Town resident Nicholas Mills, who has been struggling with kidney failure, and has been undergoing a number of surgeries.

Lawrence claimed that, when she visited the hospital in March, Mills and other patients were sitting in chairs – some for days, waiting on the next available bed.

“[From] young to old just sit down waiting on beds – some up to four days. Sad day in 2018,” Lawrence lamented in a social media post.

“I looked around on all the aching, sick humans and my heart wept… When I approached Nicholas, the first thing he said was ‘Kim me tiad; me wah lay down; try and get a bed fi mi’. My heart cried.”

While the councillor was lamenting the horrible situation at the medical facility, two of her party colleagues – including health minister Dr Christopher Tufton – were telling the state-owned Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that service at St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital is first class.

Chairman of the hospital board Michael Belnavis, who also is a JLP councillor and Chairman of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, told JIS: “These are the best of times at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital… Staff morale is very high and our patients are being treated in an environment that is first class and probably second to none here in this country.”

My heart wept | JLP councillor decries bed shortage at 'first class' hospital
Left to right: Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, Councillor for the Brown’s Town Division in St Ann Kim Brown Lawrence, and Chairman of the hospital board Michael Belnavis. Photo Credits:)

Meanwhile, the health minister, Dr Tufton, said St Ann Bay’s Regional Hospital is ‘a top class facility which is functioning like any Type-A hospital’.

He added: “What is clear is that St Ann’s Bay Regional [Hospital] is providing quality healthcare for the people of St Ann and many other communities…”

“This hospital is a type-B with 304 beds. It literally serves three other parishes and a few adjoining ones. It also serves the primary health care system in those parishes…some 70 health centres and a population of some 350,000 to 400,000 citizens,” Dr Tufton recently told JIS.

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