FALMOUTH, Trelawny— Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has called on the Port Authority of Jamaica and cruise lines which call at the Falmouth Port to invest in the development of the Falmouth Public General Hospital.
“I think it would be a worthwhile venture for the cruise lines, as well as the Port Authority, to look at the Falmouth hospital and to determine how we can create and facilitate the development of that facility,” the health minister suggested.
Tufton said he was not calling for a wholescale development of the plant, but “certainly in the areas of trauma and emergency response because it’s (the hospital) a stone’s throw away from the port”. He described the hospital as “a very nice, quaint facility” that could “easily be integrated to the tourism product and to be offered as an attraction for the tourists in and of itself”.
“It has a very solid history and there is a story there to be told if it is properly outlined and set up, including a vintage building that corresponds to some of the activities that take place right here (port) at the facility. It’s something that I like to do. I want to just throw it out there to those who are listening. I am available for discussion on that,” he said.
The relationship between the cruise line and the heath care facility started in 2015 after a manager at Falmouth Jamaica Land Company Limited, was injured and rushed to the Falmouth hospital. Subsequently, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, its parent company, donated chairs to the hospital after learning that there was a severe shortage in the waiting area. The health minister expressed gratitude for the latest set of chairs, and called for more partnerships between the tourism and health ministries.
“There is a need for greater dialogue between the administration of public health and our most significant industry as it relates to earnings and job creation, the tourism product. It’s important that that dialogue enhances the understanding of the relationship between the two and how the two work and the importance of both relying on each other for the tourism product to be enhanced and, at the same time, operate in the interest of our local populace and our local economy,” Dr Tufton argued.
“When you look at the disease profile, for example, of our world, invariably the main vector are people moving from one place to the next and therefore you can’t ignore that reality. So, in the interest of protecting your own borders as well as protecting those who visit, it’s necessary for health to be efficient and to be effectively integrated.”