NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Five months after the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation offered to have the parish infirmary house six of the social cases that are draining resources from the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital, the patients have still not been transferred.
Meanwhile, the number of patients abandoned at the health facility continues to climb.
“The Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital has 25 social cases. It is like a quick drop-off point because [last] Thursday there were 22 and over the weekend, three more were left there,” acting parish manager for the Westmoreland Public Health Services, Camile Lewin told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
In March, mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Bertel Moore offered to have an undisclosed number of individuals that had been abandoned at the hospital housed at the State-run infirmary. When contacted on Tuesday, Moore said that, one month ago, during a meeting with the Westmoreland Public Health Services CEO Novlin Leslie Little, he gave a commitment to take six patients from the health-care facility. He said their names were provided and therefore the corporation he leads is not responsible for the delay.
“I called the infirmary and they are saying that they did not come over as yet. The reason why, I don’t know,” said Moore.
He added that he tried contacting Leslie Little but was told she is on vacation.
Lewin, who is acting on behalf of Leslie Little, was unable to provide an update in the issue. She did, however, weigh in on the matter of social cases at the Savanna-la-Mar hospital.
“When we talk about social cases we talk about persons who have been discharged from as far back as 2008. I know that much. We have people discharged in 2015 and nobody is there to pick them up. So, we have to take care of them and they’re occupying well-needed space,” stated Lewin.
“You can imagine the impact it’s having on [the] emergency room because we’re talking about persons in the emergency rooms sitting on chairs…They are admitted but they are in chairs,” she added.
The hospital has surpassed its bed space capacity of 209 but Lewin sought to clarify what this means.
According to her, beds are available but the building does not have enough space to hold them, and it is sometimes easier to place people in wheelchairs as several of these can fit in the space taken up by one bed.
“If you put one bed there, it means that there are going to be two or three persons who need to get inside to access the facility who are going to be outside. So, while it is not the ideal situation, we try to serve as best as possible,” stated Lewin.
“We have beds in every possible area, even in the outpatient area. That is as far as we are putting beds now. It means that we have to evaluate the situation. Are we going to go to emergency mode where we only see emergency cases? Because the more patients you see the more admissions you’re going to get,” explained the acting parish manager.