Brown: $500K spent per year transporting patients from GB to Nassau
The $7.5 million expansion to the Rand Memorial Hospital is expected to serve as a major update in healthcare for the residents of Grand Bahama.
But according to Hebert Brown, the managing director the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), the $500,000 saved every year from not having to transport patients from Freeport to Nassau will be just as important to the economy.
“The cost savings will be high,” he told Guardian Business.
“Many of the major procedures have to be transferred to Nassau. It was costing upwards of $500,000 every year just to transport the patients. This sum will be significantly reduced and the savings invested in Grand Bahama.”
Amounting to $13 million with equipment, the hospital construction commencing at Rand Memorial is perhaps lost amid the ambitious $75 project in New Providence.
On Wednesday, Guardian Business reported the PHA’s plans to invest up to $700 million in healthcare in New Providence in an effort to aggressively pursue medical tourism. Brown believes this potential pillar of the economy will be central to the four-phase vision.
Meanwhile, a more humble but no less significant project is underway in Grand Bahama, which has major implications for residents in Nassau.
In addition to the $500,000 annual cost of transporting patients from Freeport to Nassau, these Bahamians place further pressure on the medical system in the capital – making services slower and less efficient for all.
The government has already commissioned an accident and emergency department in Grand Bahama to commence on Dec 14.
Brown told Guardian Business there will be two brand new operating theaters and two minor operating theaters. Some of the inspiration behind the venture was the result of trips to other destinations in the U.S., such as Texas, to assist and help implement cutting-edge ideas.
“It has all the technology you would find in the U.S.,” he added. “I will also have a modern trauma room and support services.”
Beyond the cost of having to transport Freeport patients due to inadequate care and facilities, Brown pointed out the situation also comes at a considerable cost to the families and friends often travelling with the patients.
“There will be less tax on the overall system,” he said.
Similar to the expansion push in Nassau, Brown urged more than just construction, bricks and mortar.
He told Guardian Business there needs to be an equal effort to properly train Bahamian workers to serve in healthcare, which will lead to cost savings, better care and a potential avenue of income for the country through medical tourism.
“The aim is to not just be a building,” he said.
“We must improve the quality and if we do that we’ll achieve our objective. We need to be seen as a leader to those who will come through our doors.”