Accreditation team from Canada to visit St Jude Reconstruction Project on Monday

St. Jude Hospital. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)
St. Jude Hospital. (PHOTO: By PhotoMike)

AN accreditation team from Canada will be visiting the St Jude Hospital site next week (as part of its Qmentum programme) to ensure that various requirements are met. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of St Jude Lydia Atkins confirmed this recently, when she appeared on ‘Issues and Answers’, a programme which airs on the Government Information Service (GIS).

Accreditation Canada’s Qmentum programme helps health care providers meet global standards, putting mechanisms in place that lead to safe and effective care, a post on its website noted.

From February 5-9, St Jude will be hosting the accreditation team “for a visit of the rest of the building to give guidance in terms of what are the requirements for us. These are very important in terms of ensuring that the building is going to be fit for purpose as well as meets the international requirements to support proper work flow,” Atkins said.

In November of last year, a team from the company visited the site as well. This was to ensure that “it can give recommendations for adherence to international guidelines as it relates to workflow for (the lab) space and design,” Atkins explained.

Lydia Atkins, Chief Executive Officer of St Jude
Lydia Atkins, Chief Executive Officer of St Jude

The company works with more than 900 expert surveyors (according to a post on its website), with extensive health care and social services experience. Together, the Health Standards Organization and Accreditation Canada work with governments, regional health authorities, hospitals, and community-based programmes and services in both the private and public sectors, the post notes.

Barry Jonas, Project Manager at Caribbean Consulting Engineers (a company hired to work on the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project) said the company has made quite a bit of progress.

Caribbean Consulting Engineers (CCE) is responsible for the design review and modification of the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project (SJHRP) and has a team of experts that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.

“We have reviewed the layouts of the existing buildings, the previous designs that were done by previous consultants, as well as the existing site conditions where we would have made design modifications accordingly to produce a comprehensive design package. The St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project does not involve the construction of a new facility but rather the utilization of partially completed buildings,  so for the design review and modification process careful planning and consideration was ensured to comply with the specific needs of the various hospital services including its support services and also to comply to all statutory and international standards and requirements,” Jonas said.

Barry Jonas, Project Manager, Caribbean Consulting Engineers
Barry Jonas, Project Manager, Caribbean Consulting Engineers

“We have an architect, a biomedical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, structural engineer, interior designer and a hospital planning expert. With this, CCE is ensuring that the construction works is completed in accordance to designs and specifications. We also have to provide supervision services to ensure we’re getting quality (and that) the project is delivered on time,” he added.

In October of last year, the Development Control Authority (DCA) gave the greenlight for government to move forward with the remaining eight structures at the facility.

“They would have conducted a tour review of our designs including… some site visits to ensure the design concerns were addressed. Now with… their approval- it’s a conditional approval, it means that construction works could commence. They would have looked at the floor, entrances, exits, parking, etc,” he said.

Currently, works are ongoing on four buildings –  physiotherapy, dialysis, west wing and maintenance and laundry.  According to Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, these units are expected to be completed by June of this year.

For these structures, Jonas said, “the majority of the civil works have been completed; mechanical, electrical and plumbing works are in its early stages. A major aspect of the works is the procurement of various items: electrical cabinets, pipes, plumbing, fixtures, (etc.), all these are in procurement process, the majority of the installation and outfitting works still has to be completed. We are aiming to finish the buildings in June as the prime minister is requesting.”

The St Jude Hospital will have a total of 96 beds (80 census beds and 16 non-census beds) once it is completed.

According to Atkins, “Census beds typically refers to the beds that are accounted for admissions; non-census… would allow for maybe 24-hour observations or recovery from surgery for example.”

Currently at the George Odlum Stadium (where St Jude was relocated after it was gutted by fire in 2009) “we have a facility with 50 census beds and 26 non-census beds. Prior to Covid we would have had 10 census beds, having had a need to increase it by an additional 16 to respond to increased admissions that we were seeing this increase in bed capacity will definitely allow us to be more responsive to the needs of the people in the south,” Atkins explained.

Further, she stated, “we also would have as part of that new facility two new operating rooms that are significantly larger than what we have at the George Odlum Stadium as well as a designated space for endoscopy procedures (also) twelve main buildings compared to four at the George Odlum Stadium. We would have improved laundry services that is able to support effective infection and control measures.”

“We have two additional buildings for physiotherapy as well as dialysis, increasing our capacity for dialysis from what is currently eight chairs to what is anticipated to be 15. With the completion of the new physiotherapy space St Jude Hospital would then become the first facility and only facility on island that is able to provide hydrotherapy. Why is that important? With increased numbers of persons with diabetes and hypertension – we have high numbers of stroke and cardiovascular incidents, these individuals would be able to benefit from that kind of therapy… to support them in getting greater mobility,” said Atkins.

The new hospital will also make room for St Jude’s volunteer programme. According to Atkins, at the George Odlum Stadium “we’ve had to struggle,  the buildings at the new site would also include the volunteer quarters and that is important because it is something that is unique to the organization and we would want to be able to continue along those lines, we also have, a gym to support staff wellness.”

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