FREEPORT, The Bahamas – Noting that much has been said both in New Providence and Grand Bahama about the state of the emergency fleet, Health Minister, the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis said Friday that five new ambulances have been ordered.
His comments came as he addressed an audience attending a ceremony marking the Annual Visit of the Governor General to the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“The Government recognises the importance of this service to community health and as such, five ambulances have been ordered, two of which will be stationed in Grand Bahama,” he stated.
The ambulances are scheduled to arrive early next year and will be equipped with a camera system allowing health professionals to evaluate and make health care decisions on site. Dr. Minnis told the Grand Bahama Health Services Team that its record speaks volumes and that it has been a beacon in the health care system.
He applauded the Public Hospitals Authority, the management and staff of the Grand Bahama Health Services for the successful planning and commencement of four major projects in one year. These started with the in-house building of the facilities to temporarily house the Accident and Emergency Services. Next was the relocation of the Outpatient Clinics to newly acquired and renovated facilities on Coral Road, which has dramatically reduced overcrowding and decreased waiting time for clients.
He also pointed out that the work for the new and renovated facilities for Accident and Emergency Services and Operating Theatre services has commenced and has progressed to a significant level within the past few months.
The new theatres will be equipped with state-of-the-art cameras, allowing for second opinions and help when needed from surgeons in Nassau. Upon the completion of that phase of renovations in August 2011, the Government of The Bahamas would have invested some $5.6 million for improvements to health facilities on Grand Bahama.
Dr. Minnis also advised that “while our ultimate goal is the construction of a new hospital when resources permit, we must ensure that in the interim, the existing facilities continue to meet the needs of our population with proper allocation for space for services, and a comfortable working environment for staff and clients.
“All areas are being reviewed, and even as two major projects are underway, we are steadily renovating and improving each ward and in-patient room, beginning with the surgical wards,” he stated.
The Health Minister further revealed that in the upcoming budget year, in addition to equipment needs, the Government will address plans for improvement to facilities and space for areas such as Food Services, Laboratory, Radiology and Emergency Medical Services. He confirmed that plans have been completed for renovations to the Paediatrics Ward, and that they will seek to provide the necessary funding for commencement of that phase of improvement in the not too distant future.
By Simon Lewis
Bahamas Information Services