Nurses at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James are demanding that the Health Ministry move faster to relocate services from the facility.

A number of nurses yesterday stayed away from work at the hospital, protesting what they say are the worsening environmental conditions there.

Doctors and medical technologists reportedly joined them.

The Health Ministry has been scaling down services at hospital amid the unfolding crisis brought on by continuous noxious emissions, coming from its dysfunctional air conditioning unit.

However, President of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica, Janet Coore Farr, says they’re not moving fast enough.

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Mrs. Coore Farr is also recommending that the Health Ministry arrange transportation for nurses.

And explore the possibility of public-private partnerships with other medical facilities where services provided by the hospital can be relocated.

She says yesterday 82 of 155 nurses called in sick.

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Yesterday, Mrs. Coore Farr said the nurses could extend their protest island-wide today. But she said that would depend on the outcome a meeting with Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, last evening.

In the meantime, Dr. Tufton says speeding up the relocation exercise at Cornwall Regional is ‘easier said than done’.

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Dr. Tufton says over 50-percent of services offered by the hospital have already been relocated. He says functions such as surgery will not be relocated but instead isolated to reduce risks.

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Dr. Tufton says, in the interim, steps are being taken to deal with the risks associated with staff’s exposure to the emissions.