Staff, patients and visitors attending the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) in downtown Kingston will now have quicker and easier movement between floors following the commissioning into service of a new elevator at the health facility
The installation was undertaken by the National Health Fund (NHF) at a cost of over $16 million, and is the latest in a series of recent upgrades to hospital infrastructure across the island.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, who officially commissioned the elevator into service during a ceremony at the hospital on Friday, said the defective elevator, which was in operation for 30 years, had outlived its lifespan by 15 years.
“We have too much down time in our equipment, and our capacity therefore is hampered to respond to the needs of our people, largely because of maintenance issues,” he said.
The health minister contented that “we need to learn from the mistakes that we have made”, and ensure that greater sustainable planning is done within the public health sector, especially as it relates to the acquisition of assets.
“When we negotiate the acquisition of these assets, a big part of that negotiation must be how we are going to maintain the asset to get the full and useful life out of the asset,” he said.
In the meantime, Tufton indicated that since last year, six new elevators have been installed in five hospitals across the country, and noted plans to install another eight elevators this year. These are an additional three at VJH; another three at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH); one at Bustamante Hospital for Children; and another at Spanish Town Hospital.
These projected improvements bring to 14 the number of new elevators that are to be installed at hospitals at an overall cost of about $180 million.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson said the agency is pleased to facilitate the commissioning into service of yet another elevator, which would now greatly improve ease of movement between floors at the VJH.
Anderson also indicated that a one-year preventative maintenance package has been purchased for the new elevator.
As part of the upgrade to the facility, the lobby was also newly tiled and painted to improve the ambiance and aesthetics.
For her part, CEO of VJH and KPH, Colleen Wright expressed gratitude for the newly installed elevator, which she said augurs well for the overall delivery of healthcare at the hospital.
“I know that this elevator will work wonders in assisting us in providing the quality care we should be providing for our clients,” she said.
The VJH is the largest maternal facility in Jamaica and the Caribbean. There were more than 30,000 visits to the hospital last year, and over 7,000 babies were delivered there over the year.