A new hospital for New Providence will cost nearly $300 million and will be situated on more than 40 acres of land on Perpall Tract, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said yesterday.
The total cost for the new facility is detailed in the 2023/2024 budget in the annex.
The government said that preparatory work and construction for the facility will cost $289,398,499.
The government budgeted just $2 million for the project this fiscal year though.
The minister said he wanted the new hospital line item in the budget to show Bahamians that the government is serious about building the facility.
“I made sure to put that in there to solidify in the minds of the Bahamian people that this project is a real project,” he said.
“It’s not a pie in the sky. It’s a real project.”
Darville explained that the government is still trying to secure funding.
“This is from a loan funding,” he said, noting that the government hopes to secure funding by the end of the year.
“At first we thought it would be a PPP, but the government cannot get the right interest rates for the PPP.
“So this might be a loan negotiated from government to government by way of one of the world’s EXIM banks.”
He added, “We are trying to secure this at a low loan interest loan funding that would be guaranteed by the government.”
The new hospital, as Darville explained previously, will be a specialty facility for maternity, pediatric and adolescent care. It will also house a blood bank and national morgue.
The health minister stressed, “It’s not a second campus of Princess Margaret Hospital.”
“Once those specialty services are moved from PMH, it will make room for the expansion of the existing services that are left behind,” he said.
While he could not say when construction will begin, he said the facility will be built in two phases.
“The reason why we moved towards a specialty hospital was based on epidemiological evidence of where we are with maternal and child health,” he said.
“The second thing is that it is a bit unlikely that you can have two hospitals in New Providence at this time because of the medical manpower shortages around the world.”
Darville said international recruiters are constantly in the country trying to hire healthcare workers.
He said he is traveling the world as well, in an effort to recruit new healthcare workers to replace those the country has lost.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the legacy problems faced by healthcare in the country, including the aging infrastructure at PMH and low manpower.
During the pandemic, officials said the country lost dozens of specialty nurses who were lured to the United States with hefty paydays and other incentives.