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Boarders cost PMH $18k daily

The government spends roughly $18,000 each day to take care of homeless patients at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), a report compiled by the hospital revealed.

There were 23 homeless patients, who are also known as boarders, at PMH in 2016, according to the report.

During the 2015/2016 fiscal year, the hospital spent $17,819 housing the patients daily. This amounted to roughly $6.4 million for the year.

Yesterday, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the hospital still grapples with the costs of taking care of boarders.

Asked if the cost is still the same as those indicated in the 2016 report, he said, “We have not repeated the study but the general impact is the same.”

While on Morning Blend on Guardian Radio 96.9, Sands said the 28 boarders presently at PMH occupy “as much as five percent of bed inventory”.

“…We hear on any given day that there are 30 people in the emergency room in the hallway waiting for a bed and you have this many people who have long since passed time for discharge; they are not sick at all,” he said.

“These are persons who are boarders. It is like a long-term hostel because their family members do not come and take them.”

The minister said the number of boarders at PMH is “reflective of the social challenges that we have in the country”.

“As a healthcare facility, what do we do?” he asked.

“Put the person on the road? We can’t do that. So, this has to be dealt with through other agencies and the creation of alternatives because if you look at some of the long-term facilities they are not going to do it for free. So, the question is now, who is going to pay for it? There are children involved as well.”

In a Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) memorandum, dated July 13, 2016, then managing director Herbert Brown wrote that his team faced a “challenge” of boarders at PMH.

“All previous hospital administrators have faced this challenge, patients who have been discharged and for social or economic reasons have no level of supportive care within their home environment or community,” he wrote.

Brown added, “It appears to be even more acute as we attempt to carry out redevelopment projects which require us to move patients within this facility to accommodate the safe delivery of care while simultaneously attaining much-needed facility upgrades. We have spent thousands of dollars on trolleys and [beds], yet the net bed capacity has not [increased].”

In March, PHA Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows said the hospital needs 200 beds in order to address its bed shortage.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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