Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says advice received from Pan-American Health Organization, PAHO experts, resulted in the Ministry deciding not to totally evacuate the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St.James.

Dr, Tufton was responding to an e-mail which was leaked on Twitter by Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Dayton Campbell.

The e-mail shows that in February 2017 the former Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Hay, recommended to Dr. Tufton that the hospital be evacuated in 10 days due to poor conditions.

Dr. Tufton says a report from PAHO experts had conceded that pursuing a total evacuation of the hospital was not the best course.

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Dr. Tufton says the conflicting recommendation from the former Chief Medical Officer and the PAHO experts resulted in critical discussions being had.

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Dr. Tufton says the Ministry decided against evacuating all patients and staff from the hospital to preserve as many lives as possible.

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Meanwhile, According to the letter which Dr. De La Hay had purportedly written in February last year – the notice to evacuate the Cornwall Regional Hospital should have been issued in 10 days to safeguard the best interest of staff and patients at the facility.

Dr. De La Hay wrote that the decision to recommend the total evacuation of the hospital was made based on several factors

Those reasons include – what was said be an increasing number of complaints from patients and staff about exposure to gases and particulate matter.

Dr. De La Hay also said the hospital should be evacuated because the Ministry was unable to provide people with information on what substances they were being exposed to.

The February 2017 letter from Dr. De La Hay also said that apart from the 1st and 3rd floors of the hospital – there were additional areas of the facility which were being affected by the gases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton says the way is now clear for the relocation of the remaining 1-hundred-beds which currently remain inside the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

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Dr. Tufton says the relocation of the remaining beds at the Cornwall Regional Hospital will make easier efforts to fix problems at the facility.

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