Doctors Hospital is growing faster than the human resources in the country can fill the positions it needs. The government is expected to work with the private healthcare provider to fill in the labor gaps that the hospital system will face as it opens facilities across the country within a short time frame, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Charles Diggiss said yesterday.
Diggiss, who made the remarks during an appearance on radio talk show Morning Blend Business, said while Doctors Hospital is engaged in training Bahamians, there will not be enough trained talent available in The Bahamas when its facilities begin to open. The company hopes to finish a hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama by the fall of 2022, and also has plans to open a facility in Eight Mile Rock.
Diggiss said Doctors Hospital also has plans to open facilities on Exuma and several other places throughout New Providence, that will need staffing.
“No, we don’t have enough trained workers, especially with the imminent facilities in Grand Bahama,” said Diggiss.
“We started off with an idea in Grand Bahama of just coming in with a signature, high-tech hospital and moved that from 20 now up to 30 beds. And now we understand that there’s an opportunity for us in Eight Mile Rock to just take over a practice and offer in that big settlement primary care services as well as dialysis, which is hugely needed for that area.
“You’re talking about very soon to open that facility in Eight Mile Rock, followed by the opening of the hospital probably in the fall of next year.
“To your point, is the growth a little ahead of the available resources? The answer is yes, we’re going to face some challenges.”
Diggiss explained, however, that the government is excited about the expansion of Doctors Hospital and will accommodate the need for the hospital to retain expatriate workers.
“We have, in the conversations that we’ve had so far, a willing spirit and accommodation with the government,” he said.
“They showed excitement and they want to work with us. So whether we have to get beyond our investing in building our own, having to get resources from outside of the country, I don’t think we’re going to face any tremendous impediment, because we’re bringing healthcare services to Bahamians or people who are in The Bahamas, in much needed spaces that the government may at the time not be able to provide.”
Diggiss said Doctors Hospital’s strategy is to meet people where they are; therefore, new facilities are a key part of that ethos.
“We’re very quickly seeing that there is a need for us to provide not only primary care, but also specialist consultation and this is based on another part of our strategy, which is meeting people where they are,” said Diggiss.
“You can imagine the difficulty people have sometimes trying to get to Doctors Hospital or make it back. And quite notably given the experience with COVID, they didn’t want to come to us for all the reasons that they didn’t want to go to any hospital that was full with COVID. So it became important for us to start locating ourselves all through New Providence and all through the Family Islands.”
Diggiss explained that Doctors Hospital has been engaged in ongoing training in patient care technician programs, nursing internship programs, medical assisting programs, emergency medical technician certificates and advanced life support and basic life support certification, among others.