Health Minister Insists 10-Day Evacuation Wasn’t Feasible

Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says he’s not apologizing for refusing to accept a recommendation by then Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye, last February, that he should evacuate the Cornwall Regional Hospital in 10 days.

The recommendation to evacuate the hospital was reportedly unanimously supported by the other senior technocrats who make up the health ministry’s technical management team.

The St. James-based facility has been plagued by persistently poor air quality issues. It was declared a national crisis by the government in 2016.

Dr. Tufton says the recommendation to evacuate the building in 10 days was unfeasible. He says advice was also sought from the Pan-American Health Organization, PAHO, on the matter.

The Minister says no practical alternative to house patients and critical services, were being offered by those who suggested the building be evacuated.

Dr Tufton also says he made the critical decision that the facility would remain open while the evacuation occurred on a phased basis.