Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling meets staff at the Rand Memorial Hospital on Friday.
Photo: Vandyke Hepburn/BIS
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
GOVERNOR General Dame Marguerite Pindling made her annual visit to the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport on Friday, enouraging staff to continue to administer good healthcare to their patients.
In her brief address, she commended hospital staff for their professionalism. “I encourage you to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in general, and in Grand Bahama,” she said. “I assure you you will agree that there is nothing more gratifying than administering care and assistance to your fellow man.”
Five retirees this year were recognised for their years of service at Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS), including Alexander Burrows, Acting Financial Controller, who has served 47 years; Valerie Mullings, Nursing Officer I at Community Health Services, who has served 40 years; Dr Jean Turnquest, Clinical Director, Psychiatry, with 38 years service; Enid Pinder, Administrative Assistant II, for 11 years of service; and Dr Gerhard Klassen, Consultant, Surgery, who has served six years. Shirley Weech, who initially retired in 1998 after 40 years as housekeeper at GBHS, and later returned as a volunteer co-ordinator for 11 years, has retired.
The Governor General was also impressed with the success of the second Bright Journey Eye Programme in Grand Bahama. Some 102 Bahamians were recipients of free cataract surgery this year through the programme, provided jointly by China and the government.
“I am advised that it was highly successful … and I can better understand the meaning and value of that programme by the testimonies (from the recipients). The recipients now have clearer vision, which will enrich their lives during the holidays and beyond.”
Dame Marguerite was pleased to learn of the partnership with the Sir Charles Hayward Library of a facility for GBHS staff allowing access to a medical library to enhance its accreditation standards as a teaching hospital. She also recognised the work of the Ministry for Grand Bahama concerning plans for the advancement of healthcare in Grand Bahama.
Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville again shared plans for the expansion and redevelopment of healthcare in Grand Bahama and the northern region, through the assistance of Gesaworld USA, a health planning consultant, in the project to construct a new 150-bed Rand Memorial Hospital at East Sunrise Highway. As part of the master planning for Grand Bahama and in preparation for implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) next month, he said they are in advanced planning stage of phase one of the new hospital, which will be the construction of the first ever community clinic in Freeport at a site on north East Sunrise Highway.
“This administration has determined that now is the opportune time to align the vision and processes behind our healthcare developmental projects, in order to ensure that the outcomes are aligned with the expectations of the Bahamian people, and meet the rigorous standards that will be imposed by the implementation of the universal healthcare, through the mechanism and national health insurance,” he said.
He said that the essential aim of NHI is to improve the health of Bahamians by creating better access to quality healthcare services, particularly primary healthcare services.
According to Dr Darville, all outlying clinics on the island and Sweeting’s Cay, with the exception of the West End Clinic, have been renovated. He noted that extensive renovations will commence at the clinic in West End early next year. “Hence it is safe to say that we are fully prepared for the launch of National Health Insurance and the implementation of quality universal primary health care throughout Grand Bahama,” he said.
Dame Marguerite and government officials toured the Rand Memorial Hospital, where she visited patients and staff. She also attended the commissioning of the Shirley Weech Gift Shop and toured the Sir Charles Hayward Library to view the medical library.