Nassau, The Bahamas – The Government remains committed to constructing a new hospital to meet the needs of a growing Bahamian population, Minister of Health, Dr the Hon Hubert A Minnis confirmed.
Speaking at the Rotary Club Nassau Sunrise meeting at the British Colonial Hilton last Thursday, Dr Minnis said the Princess Margaret Hospital has provided “tertiary level care” for 54 years.
“There has been expansions and provisions to this facility, but population growth, changing methods and techniques of patient care, research and teaching render it inadequate for the needs of the country today,” he said.
Successive governments have discussed building a new hospital and in 2005, the Dorsett Management Consulting Inc published its report on the development of the hospitals, which updated a previous work on the redevelopment of the PMH, he explained.
The Public Hospital Authority was tasked with identifying, evaluating and comparing the various options for locating the intended health care facility, he said.
“The site had to meet health needs of the population based on public health policies and other issues pertinent to the Ministry of Health.”
Five sites were considered and evaluated based on habitation, roadways, transportation, traffic flows, bus routes and other variables, Dr Minnis revealed.
Other variables include the site being near to population centres, not below sea level, or in an area prone to flooding, and has sufficient acreage for construction of a facility that meets current needs with room for future expansion, he said.
Socio-political, cultural and technological considerations were also weighed as well as the characteristics required for a healthcare network, which will meet the performance objectives in normal times, Dr Minnis noted.
“A review of the health sector revealed that there is sufficient land on the site of the PMH to construct a new hospital if this site is selected by the Government, but there is a need to clear some buildings.
“It is not the Government’s objective merely to replace the PMH,” he added. “The new hospital needs to be planned in the context of the projected health needs of the population for at least the next 30 years.”
Planning activities for the new hospital have to address the potential impact of an “invigorated” primary health care system inclusive of community mental health services, an effective wellness programme, an aggressive advocacy and community participation programme, and the examination of options for building partnerships with other providers, he said.