Despite receiving 25 new beds from the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation yesterday, the hospital is still in need of 200 additional beds, according to Public Hospitals Authority Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows.
“We are probably somewhere in the region of 200 beds short in terms of capacity and we are working towards, one by one, bringing those back into play,” said Burrows following a press conference at the hospital Thursday.
Asked about the contingency plan until those beds can be recommissioned, Burrows noted, “We are working to basically ensure we don’t have patients in for any times longer than is actually needed. The process of assessing needs, triaging, identifying who should be in hospital and who should not, looking at utilizing some of our externalities, [and] working in partnership with the Department of Public Health.”
In the meantime, Burrows said PMH is looking at acquiring additional beds in the next 12 weeks following the renovation of three wards.
“Over the years, some of the wards would have been placed out of commission, most of which would have been as a result of one of the major hurricanes that would have affected the hospital,” he noted
“We are moving forward in terms of recommissioning and bringing those wards back into play.
“We are working on the old ICU, old operating theatre recovery room as well as the old Male Surgical.
“So, those are now in play and we anticipate within the next 12 weeks that we are in a position to have those available.
“…Somewhere between about 25 to 30 additional beds [will be] coming on stream as a result of that, which will help us significantly as we move in the expansion and renovation of the Accident & Emergency (A&E) area.”
Burrows said that A&E will be shifted to another smaller location and those new beds will aid in providing alternative space.
He added that while these new wards won’t eliminate the bed shortage issue, it will significantly reduce the impact of it.
A $7 million overhaul of A&E is expected to be completed before May 2020.
The two-phase expansion will include the renovation of the entrance and driveway adjacent to Elizabeth Avenue, the creation of a satellite ambulance base and the modernization of equipment in the ward, according to Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands.
A&E is often lined with gurneys with patients. On some days, there are not enough to accommodate the crowd that shows up. Patients often have to wait many hours for service.
The 25 beds donated by the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation will replace older ones that were no longer fit for use.
“The donation of 25 new adult beds to the Princess Margaret Hospital today reflects a direct donation valued over $90,000 from the PMH Foundation board to the hospital,” said Richard Demeritte, chairman of the foundation.
“It is our mission to continue our pledge to provide [meaningful] gifts such as this to the Princess Margaret Hospital, and the people of The Bahamas. This donation today translates to comfort in care to the hundreds [of] family and friends in our community who receive care in this hospital daily.”
Additionally, Demeritte noted that the foundation is also working to donate dialysis beds in the coming weeks.
Twenty-three of the donated beds have been distributed to the Female Medical Ward I, one to the Gynae Ward and one to the Maternity Ward.