People’s Pharmacy Wins KEMH Outpatient Pharmacy Contract

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that People’s Pharmacy was the successful bidder for the outpatient pharmacy contract at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH).The contract allows People’s Pharmacy to operate a retail pharmacy in the new Acute Care Wing of KEMH for outpatients and the community.

At the moment, a small outpatient pharmacy is run by BHB in the existing KEMH building. BHB announced last year that it would be seeking an external partner for outpatient pharmacy services. This would allow BHB to increase pharmacy support for inpatient and other KEMH services, without increasing BHB’s costs, as the existing outpatient pharmacists would simply be redeployed to support inpatient services. It has also been agreed that safeguards will be taken to protect patient confidentiality.

When the Request for Proposal was originally released, 14 packs were picked up although only two subsequent bids were received. A Committee including Physician, Procurement, Pharmacy, Finance and Quality & Risk representatives reviewed the bids. The bids were received and reviewed using a blind protocol so that committee members would not know which companies had responded. The committee followed BHB’s governance and conflict of interest policies to ensure that team members who may have a conflict of interest were excluded from the decision making process. Although both bids were strong, People’s Pharmacy was the unanimous winner.

Committee Chairperson and Chief Operation Officer (KEMH), Mr R. Scott Pearman, comments: “We congratulate People’s Pharmacy on their winning submission and look forward to the outpatient pharmacy opening just off the main lobby of the new Acute Care Wing. This development will help us focus BHB pharmacy services on supporting inpatients and internal services, which is good news for the quality of our services, and we know that the outpatient service will be in capable hands with People’s Pharmacy.”

BHB and People’s Pharmacy are working together to ensure similar pharmacy costs are maintained for subsidy patients. In addition, customers will benefit from People’s extensive experience as a retail pharmacy and from a wider array of store merchandise conveniently located in the new Acute Care Wing.

Ms Donna Pearman, CEO of People’s Pharmacy comments: “We are very pleased to have been selected, and we look forward to partnering with BHB to provide greater access to affordable healthcare and effective health education for the community from our additional location in the new Acute Care Wing. We are dedicated to providing the same high level of customer service and care in the new wing as we have done for 30 years from our flagship location at #62 Victoria Street, where we have earned the title ‘Best of Bermuda’ for the last 13 out of 14 years in the category of retail pharmacy. Our purpose, quite simply, is to contribute to the well-being of all people in Bermuda.”

BHB and People’s Pharmacy are currently discussing the exact opening date of the outpatient pharmacy. Until the operation is open, outpatient pharmacy services will continue in the current location of the existing KEMH. Consistent will all major contracts, BHB’s Finance Department will provide oversight and report on-going performance to the Board’s Finance Committee.

As a matter of transparency, BHB notes that People’s Pharmacy is operated by relatives of the Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Venetta Symonds and that she is both a Director and minor shareholder of People’s Pharmacy Ltd. The potential conflict of interest was flagged at the beginning of the process, as required by BHB policy and governance. Mrs Symonds was not involved in any way in the procurement process, and vacated any senior management and Board meetings when the bids were discussed. The successful bid was formally approved by the Board in its June 2014 meeting.

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