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GLEANER - Nuttall Takes On Business Partner For Emergency Centre

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

The Anglican Diocese in Jamaica has taken on a management partner for a new accident and emergency centre, twinned with new ambulance services, at the 90-year-old Nuttall Memorial Hospital in Kingston.

Nuttall Chief Executive Officer Harvey Levers said that under the arrangement, Value Added Services Limited has provided equipment and staffing for the new emergency centre, and that both parties will share the cost of operating the facility.

The head of VAS, Fabian Brown, said $17 million has been spent on equipping and establishing what it is a 12-hour facility - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. - and that more will be invested as the emergency centre is "scaled up to a 24-hour operation".

The ambulance service will allow hospital staff to offer health checks off site, he said.

"We will be offering ourselves as a medical service of choice for companies and schools," said Brown, who at one time was executive director of St Joseph's Hospital at Vineyard Town in Kingston.

Brown said the Nuttall partnership is strictly a management operation, and does not include any equity participation by VAS in the hospital. He declined to disclose the financial terms.

Explaining his reason for the business deal, Brown said:"Nuttall offered the opportunity I was looking for - an accident and emergency facility which has been out of commission for the last three years, but a facility which is beautifully located and refurbished and ready for partnership."

Levers said that Nuttall Hospital is hunting other investment partners to assist with the hospital's redevelopment into a modern facility. The hospital's redevelopment programme was launched back in December 2011, but the VAS partnership is the first deal to be sealed under the initiative.

Other projects under consideration include the development of a dialysis centre, the hospital CEO told Wednesday Business.

"We want to become a one-stop medical centre. We do not have the capital, so we are taking on partners who will share the cost and the revenue," he said.

The new centre is expected to see full utilisation of the hospital's 50-bed facilities and a "significant improvement" in revenue from pharmacy, operating theatre and X-ray services, Levers said.

The A&E unit will offer corporate and school medicals and will also feature specialised clinics.

Levers said the new centre, which will begin operations today, February 19, is expected to grow hospital revenues by 30 per cent in the first 12 months of operation - a projection he describes as conservative.

"We are between uptown and downtown. We are not in a volatile area. Traffic-wise, we are accessible from four directions. We have ample parking," the CEO said.

The hospital has also leased space on its nine-acre complex to the Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics for its administrative offices.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com