Bull Bay Clinic’s relocation negatively impacting staff and patients

Doctor attends to patient
Doctor attends to a patient (Photo credit: Francisco VenÔncio)

The Bull Bay Health Centre has been relocated to the grounds of the Harbour View Health Centre due to hazardous conditions posed by the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP). The South Coast Highway Improvement Project started in January 2017 and is expected to end in March 2022. The twofold project will upgrade and provide new road alignment along the corridors of Segment 1 (Port Antonio, Portland to Harbour View, St Andrew) and Segment 2 (Negril, Westmoreland to Mandeville, Manchester).

A doctor from the Bull Bay Health Centre explained that the move was necessary because of the risk posed by nearby construction to both staff and patients. “It generated a lot of dust. We had asthmatic patients and patients with respiratory illnesses presenting,” she said. The staff doctor also noted the issues of noise and the exposure of children to the closely situated construction site. She added that although the relocation was not ideal for all patients, it was, at the time, the only suitable and available location.

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However, a senior staff member of the Bull Bay Health Centre told the Monitor that the relocation was not better than their previous location in Bull Bay. “A Giddy House” is how the senior staff member described the tilted, container parked on the compounds of the Harbour View Health Center where the Bull Bay clinic is now housed. “There is no way you can have a medical facility on a step. We are in container; it is on a step. Remember we have old people, people in wheelchairs. The container tilt, it upside down. If yo buck yo toe inna di front room, yo end up out a door chruu di otha door,” she said.

The senior staff member reported that when she called patients who had not turned up for their appointments, they would advise her that they did not have the fares needed to travel from Bull Bay to Harbour view for treatment.

A resident of 10 Miles, who frequently visited at the Bull Bay Clinic, and who accompanied her elderly mother to the relocated Health Centre, said that she was uncomfortable with the relocation. The resident describes the journey with her 83-year-old mother as “hackling” and “ticklish” and costly. “I have to take taxi from here to Harbour View. I have to pay a thousand dollars go and come and it is not easy. Furthermore, Bull Bay is a very big area, right? and I think the clinic is needed in Bull Bay, because there is a lot of old people and it is not easy for us to tek taxi wid dem, early inna di morning to carry dem!” she shared.

However, Keneisha Christy, a pregnant patient of the Bull Bay Clinic for 12 years, said that at first the move was a bother, because she did not want to go to Harbour View, but she eventually had gotten used to it.

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