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July 3, 2014
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$600m secondary health care infrastructure upgrade

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson has indicated that nearly $600 million has been spent since the last financial year to upgrade secondary health care infrastructure in the North East Regional Health Authority.

Dr Ferguson was speaking during the opening of the Female Medical Ward at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital last Friday.

"Importantly, more than half of that allocation, or $325 million, was spent or is in the process of being spent at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital. This includes painting and refurbishing of buildings on the campus, improvements in storage, purchase of equipment, installation of central air conditioning for the Accident and Emergency Department and construction of a perimeter wall, which is now in the procurement stage," he said.

The money also includes work on the Female Medical Ward for which the total project cost was $136.7 million.

"The opening of the female medical ward is a demonstration of our commitment to building the secondary care infrastructure as part of an overall drive to develop the public health sector in a holistic way. We cannot achieve our development goals if our health sector does not move apace to provide the essential services that our population requires," Dr Ferguson said.

He explained that while much focus has been placed on the primary health-care system, there is an important role that our secondary care facilities will play in transforming the health sector.

"What we seek to have is an integration of the network of facilities from primary to tertiary care. The ideal is for persons to start at the primary care level where prevention and health promotion would be our main focus. The secondary care level takes into consideration the need for services that may not be available at primary care, such as ambulatory, specialised medical services, therapeutic support and emergency services," the health minister said.

He added that "we need to have a smooth transition between primary and secondary care. This is why we are on a path to developing our health systems simultaneously so that we can accommodate that smooth transition."

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