It is unlikely the present state of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) will be able to sustain the anticipated influx of patients from National Health Insurance (NHI) next year, according to officials.
More than 160,000 individuals are expected to receive coverage from NHI when the program is expanded July 2020.
During a tour of the hospital yesterday, Deputy Chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Robert Carron told the media that “without fixing it, it’s impossible” for PMH to manage the increased load of patients next year.
When reached for a comment, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the hospital will not be able to handle the influx “but there is adequate national capacity when private sector beds are considered”.
In total, there are 474 beds at PMH.
Three hundred and twenty of those beds are available for use, according to a report by the PHA.
Carron said the pediatric ward has a total of 114 beds but only 16 of them are available for use.
Four wards are closed at PMH, including the children’s ward which seems to be used as a storage room for old, broken cribs and flattened boxes.
The halls of Accident and Emergency (A&E) are crowded and lined off with sickly patients’ stretchers.
Sands said the healthcare facility is facing a challenge of “a perfect storm of just debris and detritus”.
“While we have made phenomenal headway, and I’m not using hyperbole, we still have a long way to go,” he said.
“You know the public looks on just as they do with crime, and even though you make headway, they want it and they deserve it to be even better.”
The minister said renovations to the children’s ward and A&E could be completed by the end of the year if the government enters a public-private partnership.
He said upgrades at PMH will cost approximately $50 million.