$1.7 billion being spent to improve security at Jamaican health facilities

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).

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton (centre); Board Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Wentworth Charles (left); and Regional Director, SERHA, Maureen Golding, sign contracts to strengthen security protocols at several public health facilities.

Contracts were signed on Friday (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.

“As a government, we take the threat to persons who use these facilities, whether patients or staff, very seriously.”

— Tufton

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.

Reassurance and support

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 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.