Jamaica News: The Ministry of Health and Wellness is investing more than $1.7 billion to strengthen security protocols at public health facilities within the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA).
Contracts were signed today (January 3), between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and local security firms, Marksman Limited, Shalk Electronic Security Limited, Atlas Group Incorporated Limited, Modern Investigation and Security Limited and King Alarm Securities Limited, to provide security detail at these public health institutions.
The contracts, which were signed at the National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew, will last for three years.
The facilities include Spanish Town Hospital, Linstead Hospital, St. Catherine Health Department, Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, Princess Margaret Hospital, St. Thomas Health Department, Bustamante Hospital for Children, National Chest Hospital, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, and the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee Hospitals.
Among the security protocols to be implemented are 24-hour foot patrols, identification badges to be worn by members of staff, regular spot checks of sterile areas (regions housing standby generators, air conditioning plant and boiler room), and signs displaying visiting hours are to be mounted. Additionally, personal belongings will be subject to search pending the approval of the Authorising Officer.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who spoke at the ceremony, said the Ministry continues to upgrade security protocols at public health facilities for the safety of staff and patients.
“A public health institution is intended to provide a safe space for persons who need help. Not just safe in terms of infection control, but also in terms of physical safety. As a government, we take the threat to persons who use these facilities, whether patients or staff, very seriously. We invest in security to give reassurance and support to technical staff and patients who use these institutions,” he said.
Dr. Tufton further noted that an audit of the security at public health facilities islandwide is now under way.
“We will be looking at how we can boost that security, both in terms of the contracts that we sign and the supporting infrastructure – access to buildings, cameras and responsiveness. This is a new approach and it is in keeping with our vision that aims to be more responsive to what is happening in the environment,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Board Chairman of SERHA, Wentworth Charles, said the Ministry’s investment indicates the importance that the Government places on security at health institutions.
“It is a large sum of money that the State is investing in security at the hospitals, and that suggests the importance that the Ministry of Health places on security. In the contracts that we are signing today, there are provisions set out that will ensure the safety and security of our staff and patients,” he said.
Source: JIS News