Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands said that “mission control” will be restored at Rand Memorial Hospital today with the removal of the administrative hospital team from outdoor tents.
He also said elective surgery could resume at the hospital by January when temporary operating and recovery rooms are expected to be ready.
Since early September, hospital administrator Sharon Williams and her administrative team have been working in tents that were erected outside on the hospital grounds after the administrative department sustained significant damage during Hurricane Dorian.
The public health institution sustained severe flood damage, and about 75 percent of the building was exposed to black water intrusion.
Dr Sands toured the hospital on Friday where repairs and renovations are presently underway to restore the facility.
He was pleased with the progress of work there. He said that officials started renovations at the IAT Building after Dorian, where the outpatient clinic is located.
“It is exciting…on Monday the administrative team could be out of the tents so mission control can be restored,” said Dr Sands. “We will resume outpatient clinic at IAT Monday morning. It is a wonderful advance and evolution of where we were and where we headed.”
Dr Sands indicated that there is significant progress in terms of demolition at the Rand.
“What we found is that in this very old building were termite damage and rusty pipes. I want to assure the public that…we will not do anything that will compromise the safety of our people. But we do not believe that we will be able to get rid of every single piece of termite-damage wood.”
Dr Sands said there will be mould remediation and workers will make sure that bacterial contamination is sorted out so that the structure is safe.
He believes that doctors would be able to start elective surgery at RMH in January.
The minister noted that the operating and recovery rooms and the surgical supply area is part of the entire remediation project.
In the meantime, he said that an area is being prepared where they will place temporary operating and recovery rooms that will be operational by January.
Dr Sands said that in January, officials will provide another update on the progress at the Rand.
On the topic of a new hospital for Grand Bahama, the minister said it is something that the government is committed to.
“I think we all want that; I think the prime minister made it very clear that a new hospital is in the works for the people of GB, but a new hospital has to be planned and it has to be conceptualised, and we have to identify an appropriate site,” he explained.
“GB deserves all of the services that could be provided in the Bahamas – that is cardiac care and cancer care, and services that are not currently provided. So, we have to conceptualise how that facility should look like, and how big it is going to be.
“We also don’t really know what the design should be—should it be built to withstand 250mph winds or built out of some novel material that has been invented? We have to make sure as we a plan for the era of climate change.
“When we invest in a structure in GB it would serve not just for this year, but for the next generation. It has to be carefully thought and planned. I don’t imagine we will have a ground-breaking for such a facility in less than two years,” said Minister Sands.
“We are committed to getting it done - no question. And we need to figure out how to fund it. But I can assure you, the team lead by the PM is committed to a new hospital facility,” he said.
Dr Sands also commended Samaritan’s Purse which has established a field hospital in Freeport, and other relief organisations that are assisting in Grand Bahama.