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Dialysis Unit upgrades a priority, minister says

The government has prioritized infrastructure repairs and upgrades to the Dialysis Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.

“The roof leak in the area is being addressed and further improvement works are expected to commence next year,” said Sands following the governor general’s annual visit to PMH.

He told The Guardian, “We have a number of private sector individuals who have offered to the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) to upgrade the chairs and the dialysis units.”

Sands said the PHA is seeking to determine how to repair the area and service patients.

The focus on the Dialysis Unit comes after it was revealed that the unit is in crisis because of a shortage of trained nurses, dialysis machines plagued with “operational failures”, a leaky ceiling, flooding and a malfunctioning air conditioning system.

The issues were contained in a July 2018 memorandum prepared by then Hospital Administrator Mary Walker.

At the time of the report, the unit was caring for 175 chronic patients who were receiving 2 hours and 30 minutes of treatment as opposed to the “optimal treatment period recognized as 3 hours and 30 minutes to four hours”.

It had 20 treatment stations and 22 dialysis machines.

About 400 patients were being outsourced to the private sector.

Sands said the government spends $15 million a year to outsource dialysis services.

Upgrades to A&E

Sands also noted that upgrades to the Accident & Emergency Department at PMH will occur in the new year.

“These works include the much anticipated Accident & Emergency urgent care project, which was launched in August this year,” he said.

“This complex multimillion-dollar undertaking will result in enhancements to the PMH emergency waiting room, triage, asthma bay and treatment rooms here at the hospital.

“The project also includes upgrading the Elizabeth Estates Clinic and South Beach Clinic to urgent care centers for emergency triage levels three, four and five.

“I believe that few in the public realize the phenomenal work the doctors and nurses perform in PMH’s Accident & Emergency Department, seeing between 55,000 and 60,000 patients every year [and] many of them critically ill.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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