February 12, 2010

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Government of The Bahamas is spending almost $4 million to redevelop and upgrade a number of health facilities in Freeport, Grand Bahama, officials of the Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) and the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) said Friday.

The re-development of the facilities is part of a phased strategy that will facilitate a number of “critical interventions” in Grand Bahama.

Health officials say the Government, which is “fully appreciative of the need for a replacement hospital for the island of Grand Bahama,” is “fast-tracking” a special project for the construction of a new theatre, and the expansion and upgrade of the existing theatre at the Rand Memorial Hospital in order to meet the “current expanding needs of the population in Grand Bahama”.

The almost $4 million, they say, is being spent to ensure that facilities on Grand Bahama are appropriately structured and equipped in the absence of a new hospital, in spite of the worldwide economic downturn.

“This initiative (construction and upgrades of the theatres), which will cost the Government an estimated $1.6 million, will address the critical problem of long waiting times and repeated postponements of scheduled surgeries, increased lengths of stay and increased operating costs,” health officials added.

“The Government is committed to providing quality healthcare services to the people of The Bahamas in facilities that are appropriately structured, equipped and resourced even in face of the worldwide economic downturn,” Health officials on Grand Bahama added.

GBHS officials said a project is also underway at a cost of $1.7 million for the renovation and expansion of the main Accident & Emergency Department. They said the renovation and expansion of the A&E Department was a “direct result” as the Government’s “concern” over some of the existing conditions in the area.

These included inadequate clinical spaces that do not allow for proper patient triage or optimal patient flow. The changes were also ordered as a result of a lack of designated trauma, acute cardiac, decontamination or emergency surgical areas.

“In order to accommodate this much needed expansion, plans have been mobilized to renovate a building on Coral Road in Freeport at an estimated cost of $215,000 to relocate the Out Patient Specialty Clinic Services and make way for the Accident & Emergency Project,” the health officials said.

Officials say additional investments are being made into “many infrastructural improvement initiatives” at the Rand Memorial Hospital during this transitional phase, including repair of the roof to the main building at a cost of approximately $500,000.

“The Government of The Bahamas wishes to reassure members of the general public and the Grand Bahama community that its health facilities management and development plans are strong and designed to support the provision of quality health services without compromise,” the statement concluded.