The expansion of the Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas which is running behind schedule is now likely to be completed next month.
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health, who toured the facility on Friday, said the delay was not due to budgetary issues. He said he would look into the matter.
Dr. Cecil Bachelor, Senior Medical Officer at the Princess Margaret Hospital, disclosed that bad weather and legal issues with the contractor contributed to the delay.
"We were told it was going to be completed around January 18 and it's become a moving target... I think they were suggesting it might be around the middle of July before we get the building itself," he revealed.
A contract valued at $143 million was signed in November 2015 for the renovation and expansion of the Accident and Emergency Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital.
The project was expected to be completed in twelve months.
Western children's hospital
Meanwhile, in an update on the construction of the new 220-bed western children's hospital on the grounds of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James, Dr. Tufton expects ground to be broken before the end of the current financial year.
He said a team from China is in the island for four weeks examining plans and designs for the hospital’s construction.
Work will also commence this year to upgrade Type B hospitals to Type A.
These include the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital and the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
Type A facilities provide comprehensive secondary and tertiary health care services and are the final referral points for public and private hospitals.
Accommodations for health care professionals
In the meantime, the Health Minister says a public/private partnership proposal is being examined for the construction of accommodations for health care professionals at certain locations.
Dr. Tufton explained that such an arrangement will require the injection of funds from an investor to develop housing facilities.
Speaking with JIS News, Dr. Tufton said he will begin examination of the proposal in coming weeks.
He noted that the Princess Margaret Hospital which is situated on 26-acres of land, is an ideal location that could benefit from this arrangement.
Dr. Bachelor said of the 16 doctors at the hospital about 13 live in Kingston.
He disclosed that when there is a pending hurricane housing has to be sought for the doctors.