Health Minister tours GB’s public health care facilities

HEALTH MINISTER TOUR – Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville (left) toured the island’s health care facilities Wednesday for an up-close view of the needs and concerns of staff. (PHOTOS: SHAYNE STUBBS

Tackling Grand Bahama’s health care issues head-on is a “battle” the newly appointed Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Michael Darville, is committed to.

On Wednesday (September 22) Dr. Darville travelled to Grand Bahama to tour the Rand Memorial Hospital (RMH) and other public health care facilities on the island.

Following the tour of the RMH, Dr. Darville noted that while it was only his second day on the job, he and his team realize there is much work to be done and are therefore committed to battling the tasks immediately and head-on.

“First of all, I would like to commend the staff here, all of the frontline workers for the excellent job that they have been doing in the midst of so many challenges.

“I was able to tour the facility, the new renovated section as well as the older parts of the hospital that also need quite a bit of work. I also had the opportunity to intermingle with some of the patients.

“We still do have many challenges here on Grand Bahama at the RMH. In a few minutes we will have an extensive meeting with the staff, doctors, nurses, the administrative staff as well as allied health workers. It was important for us to hear their concerns and begin to uplift morale,” said the minister.

“We have been getting reports from the RMH that things need improvement. With that being said, I look forward to listening as we are scheduled to meet at the Ministry for Grand Bahama.”

Changes are expected to be made immediately.

“We intend to move swiftly; we have a plan. We have a short-term plan and long-term one to improve the health care services throughout the country and also here in Grand Bahama. I was named minister a couple of days ago and actually I am on a tour throughout the country, to understand exactly where the challenges lie and what we have to do to fix those challenges. Lastly, we have to find the resources necessary,” informed the minister.

Dr. Darville shared some of the challenges already relayed to him by health care providers while on the tour.

“We went into a section where some of the nurses feel that they are not working in appropriate environments. As a matter of fact, there were persons from the Ministry of Health here with us as well as other support staff moving immediately to fix those things, like yesterday.

“Then we are looking at the work that is presently ongoing. There may be some budgetary challenges. We have to work with the administrators to find those resources. Contractors can only go so far before they need additional funding, or to have the money outstanding to them.

“All of these things I am trying to quantify so that when I sit in the Cabinet with my colleagues, I will know what emergency funding is necessary to ensure that we can move swiftly to complete the work here and begin the necessary renovations, to the other parts of the hospital,” Dr. Darville explained.

He noted that by moving in this direction when residents do come to this facility, they can be comfortable.

“They will have the appropriate manpower resources to take care of them and then lastly, to be able to have better medical outcomes as a result of the improvement in services of our medical staff and equipment.”

Noting that there continues to be a bed shortage at the island’s primary health care facility, Darville added: “There is a shortage. We are going to view the other COVID Center and we are going to have to improve the bed shortages.

“We are determined to ensure that when local residents access this particular facility, we want to ensure that the outcomes are favorable and we want to stop the negativity that you sometimes hear about the conditions of the Rand Memorial Hospital. We have to improve the image.

“We have to improve the quality of health care delivery and we need to ensure that Grand Bahamians, everywhere, feel comfortable coming to the Rand Memorial Hospital without fear of being exposed to any form of infectious disease,” said Minister Darville.

Following his tour of the RMH, the minister also had the opportunity to tour the Eight Mile Rock Clinic, before traveling to Abaco to tour public health care facilities there. 

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