KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 31, 2019 (CMC) – Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is urging relatives, and employees of nursing homes, who inappropriately leave elderly and shut-in persons at hospitals, as a drop-off zone, to cease and desist.
According to the Minister, over the years, persons with the responsibility of caring for the elderly have developed the bad habit of leaving these persons at hospitals, when they do not need medical attention.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the commissioning of a new elevator by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the National Health Fund (NHF) and the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), at the Spanish Town Hospital in St. Catherine, last Friday.
“This practice of dropping off your loved ones at Accident and Emergency (A and E), and driving away and leaving them, and having the expectations that the public health system is going to take care of them by putting them in a bed, giving them three meals a day, [giving them] medication where they need it… but totally forgetting about your own duty and responsibility to those persons…is immoral and we’re going to have to challenge the legality of it,” Dr. Tufton said.
“I am saying to the country and those who are so inclined, stop it, because we intend to use the courts to challenge the legality of people abandoning their loved ones in our hospital system,” he emphasised.
The Minister pointed out that this is one reason why there are shortages of beds at some hospitals.
Dr. Tufton said that two nursing homes are currently being investigated, after elderly persons, who were not in need of medical attention, were abandoned at the Spanish Town Hospital.
“Many of these persons, where their loved ones have not paid these nursing homes, they (the nursing homes) just drop them off at the Accident and Emergency and leave them, so their response to non-payment of fees, is to have the hospital become the holding area for those persons. That cannot be right,” he lamented.