By Wednesday of this week the Nurses Hostel building on Queen Elizabeth Highway should be fully refurbished to provide temporary accommodation for staff and residents of the Fiennes Institute.
This is according to Minister of Works and Housing Lennox Weston, who disclosed on Monday that contractors are working 24/7 to ensure that the facility is safe for the elderly residents of the care facility.
“The contractors are working around the clock and the Permanent Secretary and all the support staff are also here to supervise the process. We have also brought in three architects because this year we intend to repair – and in some cases rebuild – major government buildings to reduce the $40 million we spend in rent,” Weston said.
The work to be carried out includes the setting up of rails and bars, the installation of nonstick tiles to prevent slippage, among other work. This most recent development comes days after nurses and residents at the facility staged a protest demanding that something be done to improve the deplorable conditions in which they are forced to work and dwell.
A week ago, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph told the media that the relocation to the Nurses Hostel is expected to last about three months. The displaced staff and residents will then be moved again to the Margetson Ward at the old Holberton Hospital, also due for rehabilitation to provide a more permanent residential care center for the elderly until a new purpose-built facility is constructed.
Weston said that while the Nurses Hostel is in a good condition, he was advised that it should not been used to house the elderly unless certain measures are implemented.
Meantime, staff at the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital on Monday entered day five of protest action to agitate for a better working environment. The action started last Thursday and Shop Steward, Bridget Alexander has vowed that they will not relent until something is done, or until they receive word from the Ministry of Health.
Alexander also stated that when the workers took action in the latter part of 2018, only the needs of the doctors and nursing staff were met. “The doctors are in luxury; we have not received anything; we had a breakout of scabies recently and now dengue is here. The toilets, bathrooms and the entire facility is in a mess,” Alexander said.