Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
NEARLY $15m has been earmarked for South Beach Health Centre and Elizabeth Estates Clinic to upgrade both facilities for emergency care, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said yesterday.
It is hoped that, once completed, the improved facilities will play a key role in alleviating demand on Princess Margaret Hospital’s Accident and Emergency unit.
Dr Sands said he was unsure when the work will begin, but said it is expected sometime this quarter.
“The architectural work is essentially done,” the minister told reporters yesterday outside Cabinet. “The funding has been identified. It’s been budgeted in the 2019/2020 budget allocation. When the first shovel will go in the ground it is difficult to say, but I expect it to be certainly this quarter.”
He continued: “That’s South Beach Health Centre and Elizabeth Estates, which will have minor functional changes. (It) will alleviate some of the stress from A&E as well as there are significant upgrades to Accident and Emergency.
“All told, we’re probably looking at just shy of $15m for everything, the entire project.”
Dr Sands last October spoke about the need for upgrades to both clinics as he confirmed $5m in upgrades for A&E.
At the time, he said: “We’ve been talking about the challenges at PMH and A&E. If you look at some of the numbers, in just four years, A&E has managed almost 8,000 assaults, 1,300 stabbings, it has outgrown the current footprint and leaves a lot to be desired.
“We’re now ready to move forward with that project, and it ties in nicely with redevelopment of the imaging department. We now have a brand-new X-ray department, and by November 1 we will have completed preparations for a new CAT scan as well.
“The next step is the renovation of A&E, not just the physical plant but the staff, service and perception. A lot of people say fix it and we’re fixing it. We budgeted for it, we would have put that in 2018/2109 budget. Also in that budget was money for the urgent care development at Elizabeth Estates and South Beach clinics.”
Dr Sands said last year that architectural and engineering plans were under way for those clinics, with construction likely to start for Elizabeth Estates first once the project had gone out to tender.
“We had to have a plan,” he added, “a part of the plan is to control the haemorrhage, to cut any waste, and augment revenue, to find out ways to capture revenue that does not put the burden on the most vulnerable, and then the service.”