SJH Records Massive Bed Occupancy Increase

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The 50-bed St. Jude Hospital (SJH) has recorded a massive increase in bed occupancy, mainly due to a surge in violent crime and chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

The disclosure came from Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs Minister Moses Jn Baptiste.

“We have an increase in hospital admissions. For the St Jude Hospital for example, this year over last year we have a 294 percent increase in bed occupancy,” the Minister stated.

Regarding the 120-bed OKEU Hospital in Castries, Jn Baptiste revealed that admissions were over 100 percent compared to last year, with twenty-six percent of the cases related to NCDs.

He told reporters that Saint Lucia faces severe problems with NCDs.

Jn Baptiste also reiterated that families, communities and the operations of health facilities feel the negative impact of violent crime.

He explained that gun violence and wounding victims require immediate medical attention, creating a backlog at the Accident and Emergency Department, where several people are awaiting health care.

The Minister observed that the situation impacts the mental wellness of healthcare professionals.

To address the hospital bed occupancy issue, Jn Baptiste noted that the former Victoria Hospital now functions as a secondary care facility.

“Eventually, we will see another 31 beds. So we are going to add over time 31 beds to the 120 beds at OKEU and we have added other services at the secondary care hospital,” the Minister noted.

“And we are doing some more work at Victoria Hospital to relieve the pressure – the Castries Wellness Centre and so on,” he told reporters.

In addition, Jn Baptiste said work at the Cuban eye care clinic was almost complete and would reopen in a few weeks as a state-of-the-art facility with a new operating theatre and new equipment, so there would eventually be less pressure at the wellness centres.

He explained that Saint Lucia was strengthening primary health care at the health centres to ease pressure at the OKEU Hospital.

Regarding St. Jude Hospital, Jn Baptiste said expansion was underway in certain areas of the facility to include more beds.

“Hopefully, we are going to see an increase from 50 in-patient beds to 66, so that gives us some additional beds while we await the newly refurbished St. Jude Hospital,” the Minister stated.

He told reporters the new facility would have at least 96 regular in-patient beds.

Jn Baptiste declared that the bed situation was not merely a hospital but a country problem.

He noted that Saint Lucia had seen a 34 percent spike in individuals with hypertension in the last year and witnessed more people with conditions like diabetes, strokes, and lifestyle diseases.

“We have a very big job to do on the wellness side,” the Minister observed.

At the same time, he indicated that people need to adopt healthier lifestyles.

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