New Acute Care Hospital Site for Bermuda Announced

The Minister of Health & Family Services and Bermuda Hospitals Board today announced that a portion (ten acres, or less than 30%) of the Botanical Garden is the site approved by Cabinet for Bermuda’s new acute care hospital. The existing KEMH site (14 acres) will be returned to green space, resulting in a slight increase in open space of four acres at the Botanical Gardens area over the long term.

“We are very pleased that a decision has been made by Government which allows us to advance our plans to build a new acute care hospital,” notes BHB Chairman, Anthony Richardson. “This is a vital step in ensuring we can deliver quality, sustainable healthcare services that meet local needs over the long term as we work to improve patient care in Bermuda.”

Government’s decision follows a year of discussion and research with BHB, reviewing the three hospital concepts that had been presented to Bermuda community in 2005. This presentation had covered BHB’s overall vision for delivering quality, sustainable healthcare in Bermuda. The acute care hospital concepts utilised the existing KEMH site, the Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens as potential sites for the new hospital.

Mr Richardson adds: “This was a hard recommendation to make as most of us on the Board are Bermudians who have grown up using and valuing the Botanical Gardens. However, we live on such a small Island and there are very few appropriate sites and our focus has to be what is in the best interests of patient care in Bermuda. The Board is unanimously committed to return the KEMH site to green space, which will increase the footprint of open space at the Botanical Gardens. We know from our public meetings that the community hoped the hospital would be rebuilt on the same site to conserve our open space and so we gave rebuilding on same site an immense amount of consideration. However, the healthcare risks of building on the same site would simply have been too great. Building on the same site will take considerably longer, so patients would have to be treated in the existing KEMH beyond its useful life date of 2012. During construction, the dust, debris, noise and vibrations could also be potentially hazardous to staff and patient health, care and safety. Finally, the increased cost of this option meant that the cost of the building would be much higher than using a portion of the Botanical Gardens and Government have stressed the need for an affordable solution for this major project. At this early stage we have a concept and our next steps will be to undertake a detailed site analysis, further research and consultation so that we can finalise a design. We expect ground breaking to take place in about two years and we commit to keeping the community updated with our progress during this time. ”

Deputy CEO Venetta Symonds adds: “All of us at KEMH will be relieved that we can now take clear steps towards replacing the current facility. We experience the reality of working in an ageing facility every day. We manage it as part of our commitment to the community to provide quality care and ensure patient safety. Using less than 30% of the Botanical Gardens will ensure we can be ready to welcome our first patient in the new acute hospital before KEMH reaches the end of its useful life. It will reduce the healthcare risks associated with same site rebuilding, helping us at KEMH to maintain patient care and safety during construction. Maintaining green, open space is also a healthcare concern – our vision to provide sustainable healthcare in a natural, healing environment is based on the very positive impact green, open spaces have in aiding the healing process and also in maintaining good health. We are therefore very pleased to return the existing KEMH site to open space for the enjoyment of people in Bermuda and to incorporate a return to nature into our concept for the new acute care hospital.”

More information about BHB’s approach for the new acute care hospital site can be found at www.bermudahospitals.bm and signage will be placed in the Botanical Gardens so that visitors can walk the proposed site. Community open houses are also planned for later in September.

-ends-

Notes to Editors:

Background:
In June 2005, BHB presented its ‘vision for healthcare’ to the Bermuda community. BHB’s vision is to provide a modern, sustainable healthcare service that met the long term needs of the Bermuda Community within a natural, healing environment. The vision had been established as part of the BHB’s Estate Master Plan (EMP).

The EMP had been proactively initiated by BHB in 2003 to evaluate the long term healthcare needs of the Bermuda community, and how those needs could be met. As part of the process independent consultants advised that the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) was nearing the end of its useful life, which was estimated to be 2012. A new building was required for the acute care hospital as structurally the KEMH building could not support modern healthcare techniques and equipment. The BHB vision was therefore applied to three sites for a potential replacement:
· A portion (about 30%) of the Arboretum
· A portion (less than 30%) of the Botanical Gardens
· Same site as KEMH

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