Public institutional medicine was first established in Jamaica with the opening of the Kingston Public Hospital on December 14, 1776. The hospital was originally located at the corner of East and North... more Streets where the land with a small hospital for slaves was converted into a male hospital, and an old slave yard converted into a female ward. The property was purchased for ₤800 and another ₤1,000 was granted by the government for the maintenance of the institution. The site of the Kingston Public Hospital was regarded as unfavourable from the time of its establishment as it was intersected by streets and lanes. Maintenance soon became a burden to the Government and by 1778 the annual provision of ₤1,000 was reduced by 50 per cent (50%) to five hundred pounds and a special tax was levied on every ship entering Kingston Harbour to provide for its financing. Another grant of One Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty Six pounds, Eight Shillings and two-pence (₤1,456.82) was made to rebuild the hospital in 1784, after it was destroyed by a hurricane.
KPH originally catered to Jamaica’s white population. The slaves were treated on the estate in what was then referred to as a “hot houses” until 1838, after emancipation, when they were accepted by the hospital. Initially, KPH was designed as an almshouse as well as a hospital, and later became a mental asylum, however, the asylum was later relocated to Rae Town, St. Andrew in 1850. Nine years later the hospital began offering 24- hour service seven days per week. Following the 1907 earthquake, a number of tents were erected in the hospital to accommodate the injured. A number of buildings were added in the 20th century, the original design of which catered to the tropical climate in which the facility is located. In 1936, the then Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Westmoreland separated surgical from medical cases for the first time.
Four (4) new operating theatres were built in 1962, in addition to the two (2) previously built in 1928. The current Accident and Emergency Block with four (4) floors including the ground floor was completed in 1982. Accommodation at the hospital up to the latter part of 1974 was sixteen wards, a bed capacity of four hundred and eighty (480). A spate of fires in the early 1980’s destroyed a number of buildings, thus reducing the bed capacity from the original number. A major redevelopment exercise was completed in June 2000 which saw a number of buildings being redesigned and or refurbished. The buildings that were destroyed by fire were demolished and two (2) new ward blocks constructed. In addition to the improvement in the physical facilities, a number of new state of the art equipment was provided.
From its humble beginnings KPH has evolved into the largest multidisciplinary hospital in the Government Health Service as well as the largest trauma centre in the public hospital system. Today the hospital has a bed capacity of five hundred (500) and offers a wide range of specialist diagnostic and rehabilitative services, as well as curative services in medicine, surgery and related sub-specialties. Kingston Public Hospital remains the main provider of critical services such as Haemodialysis, kidney transplant and Radiotherapy in Jamaica and the English speaking Caribbean. Over fifty thousand (50,000) patients are seen in the Accident and Emergency Department each year, over twelve thousand (12,000) admissions and in excess of ninety-five thousand (95,000) patients visiting the multidisciplinary outpatient department. The institution continues to be regarded as one in which sophisticated surgery is practiced on several scales and continues to contribute significantly to surgery in Jamaica.
Anesthesiology, Critical Care Medicine, Ear, Nose & Throat, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Neuro-surgery, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery, Psychiatry, Radiology, Rheumatology, Urology, Vascular Surgery
Rate of readmission after discharge from hospital (hospital-wide)
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