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Minnis: It will be impossible for govt to build new hospital

Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Wednesday night it will be impossible for the Davis administration to build a new hospital given The Bahamas’ economic and fiscal situation.

“I was minister of health,” Minnis said.

“I and my team did a complete analysis of a new hospital. We traveled throughout New Providence looking for sites. We’ve identified sites with respect for a new hospital. We analyzed what was needed: the number of beds, the type of facility, etc.

“In 2010, when we completed that study and that survey for a new hospital, in 2010, the cost for a new hospital was then $650 million. That was 2010. We are now in 2021.”

A 2016 operations report of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) found that the condition of the hospital made it unsuitable for the treatment of patients.

“The physical environment of many areas of PMH is not suitable for treatment of patients and their families,” it stated.

“The general maintenance and upkeep of PMH is lacking in several areas and the existing facility is deteriorating at an exponential rate.”

A Ministry of Health project summary for the United Nations Development Program called for a $300 million to $500 million investment for the redevelopment of PMH.

Both the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) promised to build healthcare facilities if elected to government in the 2021 general election.

In the FNM’s 2021 manifesto, the party promised to complete a state-of-the-art, four-story hospital to expand the Rand Memorial Hospital.

It also promised to construct a new six-story, 96,000 square-foot tower at PMH “to increase capacity and enhance the medical service delivery system”.

“The multi-story medical, surgical, maternal and child health facility will cost $55 million,” the FNM stated.

“The tower will also provide easy access and flow of patients on the in-patient wards that accommodate primary users of the intensive care, neonatal intensive care units and operating theaters.”

In its “Our Blueprint for Change”, the PLP pledged to “immediately” make upgrades to the Rand so it can properly service people on Grand Bahama.

It also pledged to “progress development of a new hospital with an oncology center”.

When asked if the PLP’s plan to build a new hospital is impossible to achieve, Minnis replied, “That is absolutely correct. If in 2010, it was $650 million; that was why we took the route that we took because we recognized that the Critical Care Block and moving in stages was the proper route.

“We could not afford $650 million before [Hurricane] Dorian, before COVID and before we experienced what we’re seeing today. So it’s impossible.”

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis was asked yesterday to respond to Minnis’ comments. 

He replied, “I’m not going to engage in any criticism of what we can or cannot do. Just watch and see.”

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Jasper Ward

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

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