Parish in­fir­mary aims for best ser­vice stan­dards

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

JAMAICAN INFIRMARIES have had their fair share of bad pub­lic­ity over the years, with harsh crit­i­cism be­ing lev­elled against the au­thor­i­ties for how res­i­dents are treated and the poor up­keep of the fa­cil­i­ties that house them.

How­ever, when The Gleaner news team en­tered the St Thomas in­fir­mary unan­nounced re­cently, the lawns were well man­i­cured and clean, and many of the res­i­dents were sit­ting on the porch re­lax­ing, while oth­ers were in their dorms.

Em­ploy­ees at the fa­cil­ity were seen car­ry­ing out their du­ties, but the pres­ence of our news team did not es­cape their at­ten­tion as they re­sponded to our query for an in­ter­view, di­rect­ing us to the sec­re­tary man­ager of the ST Thomas Parish Coun­cil, Er­rol Greene.

Greene told The Gleaner that he also makes unan­nounced vis­its to the fa­cil­ity to en­sure that the op­er­a­tions are up to a par­tic­u­lar stan­dard.

At least 74 per­sons call the in­fir­mary home, with more males than fe­males liv­ing at the fa­cil­ity. Men­tally chal­lenged per­sons are also taken care of at the in­fir­mary, but Greene said this poses par­tic­u­lar chal­lenges for the staff.

He said that the staff at the in­fir­mary works with health pro­fes­sion­als to en­sure that men­tally ill per­sons are prop­erly med­i­cated.

How­ever, de­spite the best ef­forts of the staff, a men­tally ill res­i­dent, who is a for­mer mem­ber of the army, is said to be pos­ing a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to other res­i­dents.

“Right now, we have a guy who is a for­mer sol­dier who hides when he knows he is to get his med­i­ca­tion. He is very dis­rup­tive. We try to get him into Belle­vue be­cause he at­tacks other per­sons all the time, so the po­lice have to come in and ar­rest him and take him out, but any­where you take him, he finds his way back there, so we have a chal­lenge in that re­gard,” Greene ex­plained.

“We pay very close at­ten­tion to the in­fir­mary. It might not be a hun­dred per cent as it should be when you go there at any par­tic­u­lar time, but I am sat­is­fied that we have put things in place, and we have put a man­age­ment struc­ture in place to en­sure that it is at ac­cept­able stan­dards.”

Since he be­came sec­re­tary man­ager, Greene said he has dra­mat­i­cally re­duced the gro­cery bill at the in­fir­mary, cut­ting it in half from the $1 mil­lion that was spent on feed­ing the res­i­dents.

In ad­di­tion, the in­fir­mary has em­barked on an in­comegen­er­at­ing project in the form of a thriv­ing chicken-rear­ing and egg-pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity.

With too few pub­lic build­ings, in­clud­ing the Jamaican Par­lia­ment, cre­at­ing ac­cess to mem­bers of the dis­abled com­mu­nity, steps are be­ing made at the St Thomas in­fir­mary to ac­com­mo­date per­sons who have to use a wheel­chair.

Ro­han Bryan, coun­cil­lor of the Mo­rant Bay di­vi­sion, who is also the chair­man of the Poor Re­lief Com­mit­tee, which has re­spon­si­bil­ity for the in­fir­mary, said res­i­dents get three meals a day and are housed in a clean en­vi­ron­ment. “I have been to sev­eral infirmaries and I can tell you that this one is ranked among the best.”

Er­rol Greene, sec­re­tary man­ager of the St Thomas Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion.

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