HEALTH and Wellness Minister Michael Darville.
By JADE RUSSELL
HEALTH and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville said Friday a request for proposals to award contracts for the building phase of a new Grand Bahama hospital is coming soon.
Dr Darville spoke to reporters after his remarks at the World Sight Day symposium at the Church of God on East Street.
The event was educational in terms of providing information on living with blindness and how to function through everyday life. Local health officials also highlighted the importance of eye care and health.
When asked for an update on the building of the new hospitals, Dr Darville said things were progressing very rapidly for the construction of a new state of the art hospital for Grand Bahama.
“That will be the first deliverable in terms of the tertiary facility that is progressing very well," he said. "And very shortly, we will be going out to request for proposals to award contracts to start the first phase of that facility.
“The facility will be built in three phases, phase 1(a), phase 1(b), and then the last phase will be the tower, which are the additional rooms that will take the healthcare facility to about 150 beds. At that particular time once it's completed, and it's operational. We do not tend to have two tertiary healthcare facilities in Grand Bahama or two campuses.”
He continued: "So we would have a tertiary facility, the brand-new facility, and the Rand would be stepped down to secondary so that we can mitigate and manage the cost of providing health care on the island of Grand Bahama. And by extension, the northern region of the Bahamas.”
In July, Dr Darville revealed that government secured the money to build a new hospital in Grand Bahama. A new hospital is desperately needed in Grand Bahama, as the Rand Memorial Hospital sustained significant damage during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.
Additionally, when asked about the site for the location of the new Princess Margret Hospital in Nassau, Dr Darville said he is pleased with the site, noting that he hopes to soon be able to announce where the new site will be.
“I would like to let the Bahamian people know that there is some study, some geo-technical studies that are going on, on the rock formation to ensure that it can handle multi-storey capability. I am pleased with the site; the site is about 50 to 55 acres. So, there's room for expansion. It's on high ground, which means that we don't have to worry too much about the elements of climate change.
“But I'm pleased that as we're progressing with the final feasibility, it appears that we have a confirmed site.
“I figure in a couple of weeks - at the latest two months - I will be able to clearly articulate to the Bahamian people where the new site for the Princess Margaret Hospital will be,” he added.
The minister had initially said that officials were looking at three possible sites, however, he is satisfied with the new proposed site.
The government stated in its Blueprint for Change that their priority was to improve and build health care facilities in the country.