Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) – Infirmaries for indigent persons: The Government has partnered with Food For The Poor to provide accommodation for indigent persons at infirmaries.
Among them are persons deemed mentally challenged and who have recovered consequent on receiving medical care, but have either been abandoned by their families or have no known relatives.
This was disclosed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Winston De La Haye, during a post-Sectoral Debate presentation press briefing by Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, at Jamaica House, yesterday (May 11).
“We have identified the infirmaries and we expect that within a three- to four-month period, we should be able to move forward with Food For The Poor in adding housing in these facilities,” he explained.
“Not everybody who is homeless has a mental illness, but many do, and we need to have these persons appropriately housed, and at the same time provide appropriate management through the Bellevue Hospital, in particular,” the CMO added.
Dr. De La Haye noted that there is now a paradigm shift at the Bellevue Hospital, as the facility no longer accepts patients for long-term care, because “we recognise that is not the best micromanagement for these patients”.
He informed that, currently, there are approximately 600 patients who could be home, but have nowhere to go.
“We have been attempting to relocate these persons for 30 or more years, but some of them have no relatives. So, what we have determined is the need to separate the facility into an adult care facility for these well but homeless persons, in keeping with the format of the infirmaries, and then have a 400/300-bed hospital,” the CMO said.
The Bellevue Hospital is a 900-bed specialist hospital located at 16½ Windward Road, with 26 wards spreading over a vast property.
The hospital is the largest psychiatric facility in the English-speaking Caribbean.