Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, is appealing to the business community and investors in Montego Bay, St James to “knock heads” on the idea of creating a private wing at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in the western city.
The private wing at CRH, said the minister, would be similar to that of the University Hospital of the West Indies’ (UHWI’s) Tony Thwaites Wing, a state-of-the-art 54-bed non-profit healthcare facility that is located in St Andrew.
Tufton made the proposal while addressing a special meeting of the Montego Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) at Sandals Montego Bay Resort in St James on Tuesday.
During the meeting, he gave members of the JHTA an update on the CRH’s rehabilitation, which he said is in its third and final phase, and is slated for completion in April of 2026.
On the matter of the proposed private wing at CRH, Tufton said it would present an opportunity to pool specialist skills at the hospital, noting that space is available for the addition to the facility.
“I think there is a role in the context of this area, with the planes flying over and landing, for a private facility,” he stated, adding that, “I think we have the space, and we are negotiating.”
Tufton said recently, “six acres adjoining the facility” were leased, and “it is being prepared for the contractor to set up shop with his equipment and storage that belongs to UHWI, who are themselves trainers of healthcare workers.”
On that score, he said the opportunity is right for stakeholders in the second city of Montego Bay to “knock heads on this and find a way to integrate at this time, because I think the time has come for the idea to germinate into some sort of private wing equivalent to the Tony Thwaites Wing at the UHWI.”
He added that, “All the ducks are lined up for that, and I think it will benefit those who choose and could access such a service, especially with the high concentration of visitors that we have.”
Meanwhile, Tufton outlined that CRH, which is a Type A facility, is being rehabilitated at a cost of more than $14 billion.
Along with the Western Children and Adolescent Hospital, which is under construction at the CRH’s compound, both will boast a combined 700 beds.
“There is a major opportunity based on the concentration of experts that will be based at CRH, so the same surgeons, doctors and specialists who are supporting the team in the 700-bed facility can provide private services in the private area, which is what happens in Kingston (St Andrew),” Tufton indicated.