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Unlike in February of last year when the Mini-Hospital was announced to be opened by May of 2016, the Bahamian Government is confident the much-delayed clinic will be opened within ten weeks. The present medical equipment has been inspected and deemed up to code. Necessary repair work, including fixing some plumbing issues, will only cost $700,000.

Mini-Hospital to Open in “Six to Eight Weeks”

With a clear opening in site on the much delayed Mini-Hospital the Public Hospital Authority (PHA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health are working together to complete final works on the $12 million 32,000 square foot building.

Managing Director of the PHA, Herbert Brown said “I am pleased that the PHA has now been charged with the responsibility of completing the infrastructural work that’s required for the official opening of this clinic, and as you’ve heard from the Minister [Dr. Michael Darville], and Member of Parliament, we commit that the facility will be open in six to eight weeks.”

Dr. Darville said that “We had an opportunity to look at the lab equipment – everything seems to be intact – and we looked at the x-ray equipment. We will bring in our engineering team to do an inventory of the equipment to ensure the quality and integrity of the equipment meets the international standard.”

He added that a few months ago some of the equipment was assessed and everything appeared to be in good working condition.

“From our preliminary assessment we are confident that within six to eight weeks all of the essential services for universal health care should be up and running, and specialty service will become available in a phased approach where residents of Abaco can benefit from this facility and we can reduce the burden of airlifting individuals as the care needed will be right here,” he said.

Mr. Brown said it is anticipated that the work to complete the Mini-Hospital will cost just under $700,000, “but of course when you begin to carry out repairs you may very well find there are things that you did not expect.”

Mr. Brown said that as the Clinic has been closed for a long period of time there are some plumbing issues that need to be addressed along with some air conditioning and electrical challenges that also need to be addressed.

“Clearly one of the major problems that we noticed is some flooring issues that require portions of the floor to be taken up and completely redone, but we are satisfied that the work that has to be done in that regard can be done within the time frame of six to eight weeks,” he said.

He said that all the work, except for the flooring, is going to be done by the Capital Development Unit in the PHA – they have a complete team of carpenters, plumbers, air conditioning and electricians that will be carrying out this work.

He added that for the past year the PHA, Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health has worked closely together on the instruction of the government of the Bahamas under a Health Systems Strengthening Initiative “to ensure that the physical infrastructure of our clinics and our hospitals are brought up to the standards required by National Health Insurance.”

“So today, as we have been doing in New Providence, Grand Bahama and other family islands, we’ve come to Abaco to focus on what we needed to do bring relief to the people of Abaco with the presence of this particular facility,” Mr. Brown said.

He said that they brought a complete team of engineers to validate their assessment which was carried out several months ago to ensure there have been no changes since that time.

“I am satisfied that starting next week a complete team will be coming to Abaco to begin that work and I am confident based on what we have done elsewhere that we would be able to complete the work within the required period of time,” he said.

Mr. Brown said it is also important to note that “the people of Abaco can expect enhanced services once this new facility would have been opened. There are services that it will provide that you do not have now in Abaco and I think that is significant for the people here.”

“We are pleased to be working very closely with our colleagues and are very grateful to the Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Darville, who has been a strong supporter of our initiative, and the Member of Parliament for North Abaco, Mr. Curry who has also been extremely supportive – in fact he has been in contact with me almost daily over the last several months wanting to know when are we going to get started.”

Dr. Darville also noted that there would be advances in the keeping of medical records allowing for ease of patient care across the Bahamas. Last August an $18.4m contract was signed by the government with AllScripts and their partner, Infor Lawson, for an Integrated Health Information System (I-HIM) proprietor software.

Dr. Darville said the system would allow doctors to have access to patient medical records at their “finger tips” and is expected to be ready by May of this year.

He explained that if a patient was seen at a clinic in Abaco, and on another occasion was seen by a doctor in Nassau, their medical records would travel with them in a seamless digital fashion.

Administrator of the Department of Public Health, Charlene Bain added that they anticipate that the facility will cost just over $2 million per year to operate.

They will have ambulance and 24 hour emergency services. “This is key as one of the hallmarks for sustainable access to health services, especially emergency medical; where road traffic accidents and other injuries occur outside normal operating hours,” she said.

She said that they will have a multi-disciplinary team that will be able to respond to whatever emergency arises – the team includes an administrative officer, a physician, a nurse, a radiographer and a lab technologist that will be on site in the residences adjacent to the mini hospital.

Construction began on the Mini-Hospital in April of 2012 and was to be built over a 60 week (A year and two months) period; however, the project was said to be prolonged due to some technical difficulties.

Construction began on the Mini-Hospital in April of 2012 and was to be built over a 60 week (A year and two months) period; however, the project was said to be prolonged due to some technical difficulties.

About Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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