Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, chats with staff of the Black Rock Polyclinic during a??tour today. Also pictured at left is Member of Parliament for St. Michael North West, Christopher Sinckler.

Challenges at the Black Rock Polyclinic were explored today as Minister of Health, Donville Inniss toured that facility along with officials from his Ministry and parliamentary representatives for St. Michael North West, Chris Sinckler and St. Michael West Central, James Paul, whose constituencies are served by the polyclinic.

Acknowledging that the 15-year old Black Rock institution served a large catchment area, Minister Inniss said the range of services had expanded over that period and naturally there was "quite a bit of pressure on it".

"This polyclinic is one that has physical constraints and we would certainly like to have more space to operate from," he said, highlighting among others the need for parking facilities for staff and clients.

The Health Minister also alluded to the need for additional staff at all levels, "to make community health more prominent in our society" and revealed that additional equipment had already been budgeted for this financial year.

Upgrades on the building were also discussed and Mr. Inniss said that the entire roof was being changed, and the air condition system upgraded. He further disclosed that the water tank storage area had been enclosed to help prevent any damage in the event of any natural disaster and the building was being power-washed.

While noting that attention was also being paid to security issues, the Health Minister said: "This polyclinic, in particular, has had many challenges in respect of [the] verbal abuse of staff and we certainly want to rule that out, so we are paying close attention to the security as we will for the entire health sector."

To this end, he reiterated the fact that an assessment was currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and Security and said: "Once that is in hand then we would be in a better position to announce changes."

The Health Minister, in explaining why he had toured the compound with his colleagues said: "We really want our polyclinics to be a part of the community that they serve and not just be seen as facilities you come to when you are sick and have nowhere else to go and also want the staff of the polyclinic to know that they too are part of the community and [should be] treated with utmost level of respect and that they are embraced by all, including political leaders in the surrounding areas."

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