ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann — The St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital is to see another major development taking place soon as the operating theatre at the facility will be expanded through a grant of $140 million provided by the National Health Fund (NHF).
Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson officially broke ground at the facility on Friday for work to begin. This new project for the hospital follows several other recent developments which include an expansion of the women's medical ward.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Dr Ferguson said that he believes regional hospitals should be centres of excellence and over a period of time, the St Ann's Bay Hospital must achieve that status.
"I believe passionately that regional hospitals are the hospitals taking the brunt of referrals and the hospitals that are the number one within a region must be of a particular quality, must represent systems of excellence, and must, overall, be a centre of excellence," Dr Ferguson said.
This calendar year, over $375 million has already been spent to improve infrastructure in the public health system, with the new project at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital pushing that total to over $500 million.
"This is part of our efforts at the Ministry of Health to improve services to the people through, among other things a programme to upgrade the physical infrastructure of the public health sector," the minister added.
The expansion of the operating theatre at the
St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital will see the institution having two additional theatre suites, staff lounge and consultants' offices with a six-bed recovery area, the minister revealed.
The first phase, which includes construction, electrical and plumbing work along with air conditioning, is expected to cost over $59 million.
Phase two, which involves the acquisition of surgical equipment and furniture, will run concurrently with phase one. Both phases, the minister said, are expected to be finished by this financial year, as the project is expected to last approximately 32 weeks.
Dr Ferguson urged the contractor Frederick Rodriques and Associates to ensure that value for money is received and that work is completed in a time frame set and within budgetary boundaries.
The expansion of the operating theatre is expected to reduce the time patients have to wait for elective surgery, usually six months to one year Leo Garel, the hospital's chief executive oficer revealed.
The facility will also be expected to better handle cases of emergency surgery. The St Ann's Bay Hospital is said to be experiencing an increase in the number of surgeries it has to perform which makes it difficult to respond adequately to cases of emergency.
"The facilities as they are now are not able to effectively cope with this level of surgeries which leaves no room to respond to emergencies such as mass casualties," Dr Ferguson said.
In addressing the improvement of health care, Dr Ferguson revealed that the ministry has made progress with discussions to acquire two linear accelerator machines for radiation. At present there is only one in the private sector, he said.
He also revealed that two pathologists from Cuba are expected in the island soon.