Hundreds of persons are now benefiting from a two-stop elevator provided at the Port Maria Hospital in St. Mary, at a cost of $20 million. Financed by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, the new elevator is improving the wellness journey of patients and service delivery of staff. Regional Director at the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), Fabia Lamm, told JIS News that the previous elevator was between 25 and 30 years old.

The hospital noted downtime of 80 per cent over the last two years and an increase in the number of patients receiving care at the facility. Patients and heavy equipment had to be carried by staff up the stairs to facilitate provision of service, which was not ideal. “The previous elevator had done its time. We were repairing it frequently, but it was basically becoming irreparable and obsolete. In looking at that, we started a procurement process in 2020 to replace it with a more modern two-stop elevator that would satisfy the need at the hospital, which has two floors,” Ms. Lamm.     

Ms. Lamm noted that the commissioning of the elevator helped to relieve staff from the rigours of carrying patients manually from the first to the second floor. “Our ability to replace the elevator has alleviated numerous industrial relations issues. Can you just imagine staff during the period when the old elevator was no longer working? The outcome of that was not all the patients could be moved. What we had was an overcrowded A&E Department, because it meant that for the patients who could not be moved physically, without the use of an elevator, they had to be cared for in the A&E department,” Ms. Lamm explained.                                                                               

The Regional Director said that staff members have been much happier since the installation of the elevator. “We’ve had several interventions with the staff just to crave their understanding and to encourage them to continue doing what they were doing in physically lifting patients. During that time, we did some refresher courses in proper lifting techniques and just had to have that constant dialogue with them that the end or the solution was near. They saw that we really were working assiduously to put in the solution,” she said. Ms. Lamm expressed her gratitude to the CHASE Fund for stepping in and funding a critical project for the Hospital.                                                        

   “I really want to thank them. They’ve always been there for us at NERHA and we look forward to the continued partnership that we will have with them as we continue to improve healthcare delivery in the Northeast Region. The elevator was installed and we are now back to delivering services, alleviating some of the stress from the staff and having a fully functional two-stop elevator at the Port Maria Hospital,” she said.