Spanish Town hospital marks 70 years

June 28, 2022

The Spanish Town Hospital is celebrating 70 years of providing quality health care to the people of St. Catherine and surrounding parishes.

Built in 1952, the facility provides primary and secondary care services to the parish’s growing population, as well as patients from Kingston and St. Andrew, and parts of Clarendon, St. Mary, and St. Ann.

Among these are general surgery, general medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics, urology, anaesthetics, physiotherapy, X-ray, and laboratory services.

The Type B facility, which is the largest institution of its kind in the island, has the second highest number of newborn deliveries in Jamaica.

Service in this area has been bolstered with the introduction of a neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) in August 2019. The unit has the capacity to facilitate 40 babies at a time, and cares for an average of 1,200 babies per year.  

The hospital’s bed count has also grown from 277 in 1952 to 430, currently.

Spanish Town Hospital is poised for further expansion under a US$50-million Inter-American Bank (IDB) project.

The works will significantly improve capacity to meet the growing public health demand on the facility, resulting from increased housing construction and development projects to be undertaken in the parish.

The investment at hospital will see the creation of an accident and emergency wing with ambulatory and ambulance bay, triage, and consulting rooms; patient wards and lounge, and lunch areas; a radiology department pharmacy and outpatient department; a surgical floor and patient wards; a basement area that includes staff parking; and a sky bridge that links the existing administration and dietary blocks.

The improvements will better enable the hospital to carry out its mission of providing the best quality health service to patients, their families and the community through excellent customer service, efficient utilisation of resources, teamwork, cost sharing and community participation by a highly skilled and motivated staff.

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, in a message during the hospital’s recent 70th anniversary function, held at the Family of God Seventh-day Adventist Church in Spanish Town, said the staff must be commended for the facility’s achievements.

He said the Government acknowledges the challenges the hospital faces and “we are actively seeking to mitigate these issues and improve, not only patient care, but the overall experience for our valued public health workers at the facility.”

The PM noted that during the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there was huge demand from patients and “our frontline workers showed up each day, rendering unparalleled compassion and service.”

Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Ellis, in her remarks, said the institution “has had a profound impact on communities for the past 70 years, touched countless lives, and we have confidence that we will continue to play a significant role in the health and well-being of the population.”

Senior Medical Officer, Dr Jacqueline Wright-James, noted that the hospital has been on a journey to provide world-class services to communities.

She added that the staff has a strong commitment for continued excellence and is relentless in pursuit of this mission.

Carol Nathan, who is the longest serving staff member, shared that in 1986 when she did her work experience at the hospital, while in her final year at high school, she had no idea that she would go on to obtain full-time employment, and remain with the institution for almost four decades.

 “I have encountered challenging days; however, the good days outweigh the bad.    A typical day is working on the frontlines, assisting patients in navigating the services that they require. It brings me joy to come to work for the past 36 years, knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life,” the assessment officer said.

Director of Nursing Services, Novellette Robinson, for her part, said the institution’s culture is high on delivering quality health care and customer service, and is striving to be the best public healthcare facility.

Meanwhile, Northern Caribbean University (NCU) President, Dr Lincoln Edwards, hailed the staff for working tirelessly, to bring hope and healing to people.

“I can testify to the excellent care received,” he said, sharing that he once had a broken leg, and spent several days at the institution.

“I received excellent care. So, I can give full recommendation for the people who took care of me, and they continue to do that,” Dr Edwards noted.

Regional Director for the South East Regional Health Authority, Errol Greene, told JIS News that, as the hospital marks its 70-year milestone, the staff must be lauded for the service they provide.

He said he is looking forward to the facility’s expansion, which will make a “big difference” for staff and clients.

“Spanish Town is going to become a Type A hospital,” he said, noting that all the services carried out by the major hospitals, will be done there.

Spanish Town Hospital recently staged a week of activities to mark the 70th anniversary, which, in addition to the church service, included a staff award ceremony where scores of workers were recognised for their contributions, and a music in the garden event.


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