About Anna Nowak

Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre Maintains 6-10pm Weekday Hours In March

Tuesday 3 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today confirms that the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) will continue to operate on weekdays from 6pm to 10pm, with no x-ray service until further notice. Weekend hours will remain as normal, from mid-day to mid-night, with a full service including x-ray. The weekday hours were implemented in December as part of BHB’s ‘Winter Plan’, to help reduce wait times in Emergency and improve access to inpatient beds over a very busy time of year.

Keeping to these weekday hours at the UCC allows BHB to focus resources on the KEMH Emergency Department, where high numbers of unwell people are still coming with seasonal respiratory illnesses and flu.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “We are grateful for the understanding of the community, especially in the East End, while we focus on caring for the increasing numbers of unwell people in the Emergency Department. On top of usual winter infectious respiratory diseases such as flu, we are also preparing in the event of a covid-19 outbreak in Bermuda. This will further pressure resources and we need to make sure we can care for people who have more serious symptoms. It is why we cannot stress enough for people to call their doctor or the Emergency Department if they believe they have been exposed to covid-19 or are experiencing fever or dry cough. This way you can be assessed and advised quickly, and you also protect other people in the waiting rooms and healthcare facilities – both patients and staff.”

Dr Okereke adds: “This was the first year BHB proactively devised and followed a winter plan to help us manage the yearly winter pressures and care for those most in need during this period. Comparing 16 December to 23 February this year to the same period last year, there was a very small 0.2% reduction in, or 11 fewer, individual visits to the Emergency Department (5,936 this year compared to 5,925 last year). However, there were 52 more admissions (896 compared to 844), or a rise of 6.2%, indicating more seriously ill patients. By having more resources in Emergency, booking time to discharge decreased on average by 49 minutes, or 14.7% (333 minutes to 284 minutes), with the wait for admissions to an inpatient bed dropping by 25.2% from 1,070 minutes to 800 minutes. The improved and more timely service resulted in more people being cared for and better patient flow, as 108 fewer people left before they were seen or treated, a drop of 64.4% (68 compared to 176 the previous year).”

People who are concerned about exposure to covid-19, or believe they have an infectious respiratory illness, should not turn up at a healthcare facility, but first call from home to their doctor’s office, the Emergency Department at 239-1301 or 239-1474 or during opening hours at the Lamb Foggo UCC 298-7700. They will be assessed over the phone and advised on next steps.

3 March 2020 Home Page, News

People Concerned About Covid-19 Urged to Call Before Turning Up to Emergency

Tuesday 25 February 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today stresses that people who believe they have been exposed to the new coronavirus, covid-19, due to their travel history to a high risk country, or following contact with someone who has covid-19, should call their healthcare provider or the Emergency Department and not just turn up for medical help.

Chief of Emergency, Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, says: “We are being proactive. We are all relieved by the news that there haven’t been any covid-19 cases in Bermuda yet. We have a great opportunity to establish practices to limit its spread should that change. Most importantly, by calling their primary care doctor or the Emergency Department first, people can get help quickly over the phone. They don’t have to wait. And they can save the lives of others.

Dr Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency

“Eighty per cent of people may not even need medical treatment as the symptoms can be mild or not even felt. Individuals should stay at home and call their doctor or the Emergency Department for advice. This is critical for preventing the spread of covid-19 to the individuals who could be really harmed by it. Seniors, people who have diabetes or heart disease, and people undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy who may be immunocompromised, are at most risk of serious illness from covid-19.”

BHB and the Ministry of Health have collaborated to establish a set of questions that will assess someone’s risks and need for treatment over the phone.

“Usually people are triaged when they arrive in Emergency to identify their needs,” Dr Okereke explains. “This is a type of telephone triage. By calling from home first, we can quickly assess your needs and advise on your next steps. For seriously ill people, the hospital has negative pressure rooms on every floor of the acute care wing that prevent pathogens coming out of the care room on the air, and our staff are equipped and trained in dealing with infectious diseases. Covid-19 spreads in a similar way to colds and flu, so even though it is a new virus, the way to minimise its spread are very well known to us, and existing disinfectant, soap and water and hand sanitizers will kill it. Four out of five people infected with covid-19 will not be seriously ill based on what is currently known. For those who have more serious complications, we are ready.”

Click here for a short video “Call, Don’t Just Turn Up!”

25 February 2020 Home Page, News

Winter hours at Lamb Foggo UCC extended to February

Friday 31 January 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces that the weekday winter opening hours at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre of 6-10pm will continue until the end of February, with a nurse and physician service, but no x-ray. On weekends, the UCC will operate as normal from midday to midnight, with the usual full service including x-ray.

The winter hours were introduced on 16 December 2019 as part of BHB’s proactive winter planning to focus resources on the Emergency Department where flu and respiratory illnesses drive up attendances. Originally planned to end on 31 January, the reduced hours have been extended as attendances in the Emergency Department are still rising.

Chief of Emergency Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke comments: “It is unfortunate, but our Emergency Department continues to experience an increase in flu and respiratory illness related attendances. We had hoped to have got through the worst pressures of the season, but each year the peak in attendances can vary. The temporary reduction in weekday hours keeps the UCC open when it is busiest, but allows us to focus resources where the clinical need is greatest and ensure patients with the most pressing medical needs are attended to in a more timely manner.”

Should the causeway close for any reason and at any time, the UCC will open in line with current practice.


31 January 2020 Home Page, News

UCC Temporarily Reduces Weekday Hours From 16 December to 31 January 2020

Thursday 12 December: As part of its winter planning, Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces that between 16 December 2019 and 31 January 2020, week time opening hours at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be 6pm-10pm, rather than 4pm-midnight, and during these reduced weekday hours there will not be an x-ray service.  Weekend hours will remain unchanged during this time and the UCC will operate as usual with an x-ray service from mid-day to midnight.

Weekday hours along with a weekday x-ray service will return to normal from 1 February 2020.

The change keeps the UCC open during its busiest hours. However, the reduced weekday hours allow more staff to be present in the KEMH Emergency Department helping keep wait times down for a larger group of patients.

Chief of Emergency, Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, comments: “We are planning for a busy winter period when flu and respiratory illnesses bring more people to the Emergency Department. Our focus is to prioritise the ED service during this time, where clinical need is greatest. This will help keep the ED wait times down and ensure patients with the most pressing medical needs are attended to in a timely manner. Our hope is that the shorter week day hours at the UCC will free enough staff to manage high demand in the ED, although we will closely monitor the situation throughout to ensure the care needs of our community are met.”

Dr Okereke adds: “Should the causeway close for any reason, the UCC will open in line with current practice. The reduced weekday hours are a proactive, temporary measure to better plan emergency care for the island over some of our busiest months. We thank East End residents for their understanding and we look forward to resuming normal operating hours in February.”

12 December 2019 Home Page, News

New Clinical Director of Mental Health Services at MWI

Wednesday 4 December 2019: BHB today announces that Tawanna Wedderburn has been appointed as the new Clinical Director of Mental Health Services at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. She takes on the role from Monday 9 December 2019 as Mr Glenn Caisey, who held the position for more than 20 years, is retiring from this post.

Reporting to the Vice President, Clinical Operations (MWI), Mr Preston Swan, the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services is responsible for the quality and direction of community and inpatient mental health services for adults and Child & Adolescent Services.

Mr Swan comments: “I am very pleased to welcome Ms Wedderburn back to MWI in this critical role. I would like to thank Mr Caisey for his leadership and dedicated service over many years. We expect a smooth transition of leadership with Ms Wedderburn’s experience and understanding of MWI and mental health in Bermuda and are looking forward to exciting times in the mental health arena. MWI employees are in the early stages of developing services with amazing partners such as Johns Hopkins and most recently East London NHS Trust who have shared their experiences on their quality improvement journey within mental health. Ms Wedderburn is well placed to lead the team in this process as we seek to improve outcomes for people in Bermuda suffering from mental illness.”

Ms Wedderburn worked at MWI in Child and Adolescent Services for six years between 2002 and 2008 as a family therapist and Acting Programme Manager following two years working as a crisis intervention worker in Toronto. She worked as an adoption worker then family consultant for the Department of Child and Family Services between 2002 and 2010. She has a keen interest in ethics and was a long serving member of the BHB Ethics Committee. From 2007 to 2018 she was employed by the Bermuda Health Council as Programme Manager from 2007, the Director of Health Regulation from 2011 and CEO from 2015.

Ms Wedderburn achieved a Bachelor of Arts from York University in 1993, a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto in 1998 and gained a post graduate certificate in couple and family therapy from the University of Guelph in 2006. She has received additional training in health systems and health insurance from the World Bank, Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Schulich School of Business. She sits on the Board of the Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home, and the Berkeley Institute Board of Governors. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and Bermuda Counselors Association.

Ms Wedderburn comments: “I’m excited to be returning to MWI in this leadership role as we work to update the strategy for mental health services in Bermuda. I already know there is a wonderful team of professionals and support staff in place providing high quality services, and I look forward to working with them and our external partners to further develop mental health services.”

4 December 2019 Home Page, News

Hurricane Emergency Kit Guide for Diabetes Patients

Monday 16 September 2019: Bermuda Hospitals Board today shares a ‘Hurricane Emergency Kit for Diabetes Patients’ guide from its DREAM (diabetes, respiratory, endocrine and metabolism) Centre team.

DREAM Centre dietitian, Jessika Quigley, comments: “Medical care and supplies are not always available immediately after a hurricane, and with some planning ahead diabetes patients can avoid having a diabetes-related health emergency.  Simple steps such as ensuring a sufficient supply of medication, having diabetes friendly snacks, extra batteries for a glucometer or insulin pump, and reusable gel packs to keep insulin cool can help someone with diabetes get through a storm safely.”

Click here for the guide – DREAM-Centre-Hurricane-Kit-for-Diabetics-Sept-2019 FINAL

16 September 2019 Home Page, News

2019 Scholarship Winners Announced

Tuesday 10 September 2019: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces the awarding of nine scholarships, worth $155,000, over one or more years. All the scholarships are administered by BHB, with funding for five from Bermuda Hospitals Board ($70,000), three from the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation ($45,000) and one from GlaxoSmithKlein Insurance Ltd, a Bermuda-based subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline plc ($40,000).

Venetta Symonds, BHB President & CEO, comments: “Congratulations to all the scholarship winners. It is exciting to see the next generation of healthcare professionals working to complete their studies. Forty three years ago I was in their shoes – a successful BHB scholarship winner. I wish them all the best in their studies and look forward to seeing their careers blossom. Whether they focus on their speciality or go on into senior leadership, I wish them well. I would like to thank the BHCF and GlaxoSmithKlein for their on-going investment in Bermuda’s healthcare future, and to all the members of the BHB Scholarship Committee who administer and support the selection process.”

Scholarships funded by BHB:

Chantae Hollis has received a BHB Scholarship of $10,000 for up to one year.  Chantae is in her third year studying at John F. Kennedy School of Medicine in Curacao. Upon graduation in 2021, she is planning to do her residency in Psychiatry.

Latroya Darrell has received a BHB Scholarship in the amount of $15,000 for one year.  She is in her last year of attaining her MSc in Physiotherapy at Queen Mary University in Edinburgh.  She will graduate in spring 2020.

Shayla Gift has received a BHB Scholarship of $15,000 for one year with an option to renew for up to two more years.  She is at Sheffield Hallam University, in South Yorkshire UK in pursuit of a BSc in Adult Nursing. Shayla’s is looking to graduate in Spring 2022.

Tiontae Thomas-Clarke has received a BHB Scholarship of $15,000 for one year with an option to renew for one more year. Tiontae is studying at Hampton University. Upon graduation, she wants to pursue specialisation in Mental Health Nursing.

Milon Bourne-Outerbridge has received a BHB Scholarship of $15,000 for one year with an option to renew for up to two more years.  Milon is studying Adult Nursing at the University of Essex in the UK.

Scholarships funded by the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation (BHCF)

Annefa Burke has received a BHCF Scholarship of $15,000 for one year with the option to renew for up to two more years.  She is studying at St George’s – University of London – Nicosia Campus in Cyprus.  In Spring 2022 she will attain her BA of Medicine and BA of Surgery.

Ceola Wade has received a BHCF Scholarship of $15,000 for one year.  Ceola is at the University of Exeter – UK Medical School in the process of attaining her BSc in Medical Sciences (Health Research).  She will graduate in Spring 2020 and Ceola wants to go on to specialize in Emergency Medicine.

Xe’na Simons has received a BHCF Scholarship of $15,000 for one year with an option to renew for one more year. Xe’na is studying at Advent Health University in Orlando Florida. Upon graduation, Xe’na wants to specialize in Mental Health Nursing.

GlaxoSmithKlein Scholarship

Alesha Page has received the GlaxoSmithKline Scholarship of $20,000 for two years. Alesha is studying at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St Kitts.  She will attain her Doctor of Medicine in 2021.

10 September 2019 Home Page, News

BHB CEO Notifies of Early Retirement in 2020

Wednesday 4 September 2019: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces that Mrs Venetta Symonds, President & CEO, will be taking early retirement in July 2020 on her 40th year anniversary with BHB.

Mrs Symonds has given 12 months’ notice to the Board of her decision, 6 months longer than the notice period required by her contract. She remains committed to BHB and will continue to support what is required from the hospitals for healthcare reform over the coming year.

Mrs Symonds comments: “This has been a difficult decision to make, but after over 40 years working at BHB, there is so much I still want to do in my life while I am healthy and able. My time off earlier this year showed me there is still so much I want to learn and develop that I have put off due to work commitments. I have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to lead one of the most caring and dedicated group of staff since I became CEO in 2012.  I am proud of all that has been achieved through multiple changes and transitions over the last seven years, and I look back over the decades and feel such gratitude too for all the progress I’ve been a part of and the wonderful people I have worked alongside. Even after I retire, I am sure I will still look for ways to support the hospitals and healthcare in Bermuda.”

Mr William Madeiros, BHB Chairman, adds: “We would like to thank Mrs Symonds for her four decades of service to Bermuda and her leadership as CEO over the last seven years. BHB has flourished under Mrs Symonds’ vision and direction. Quality has improved, there is a strong strategy in place driving exceptional care, a strong partnership and a healthy community, and BHB has become a more open, transparent and caring partner under her leadership. We are grateful she has given us a year to transition. The Board’s job is to now develop and implement a leadership transition process. The CEO is appointed by the Board and we will do what is necessary to ensure BHB moves from strength to strength. We will update the community on our process in the coming months.”

The Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim N. Wilson JP MP, says: “Mrs. Symonds has dedicated her entire professional career and personal passion to the Bermuda Hospitals Board. I am certain that everything she did was with the best interest of our country’s hospital and our people at the top of her mind and in her heart. I am grateful to Mrs. Symonds for the advance notice of her intended early retirement, and for her years of service and dedication. I wish her all the best as she enters an exciting new phase in her personal journey. Until then, we continue to stand united as we strive to make Bermuda healthier.”

4 September 2019 Home Page, News

Improved diabetes management for inpatients

14 August 2019: BHB is focusing on improving inpatient care for diabetic patients, after internal research showed that 33% of inpatients at KEMH have diabetes. Irrespective of the primary cause of their admission to hospital, patients with diabetes are known to have poorer outcomes and longer hospital stays because of their diabetes.

Dr Andrew Jamieson, Endocrinologist, leads BHB’s Diabetes, Respiratory, Endocrinology and Metabolism (DREAM) Centre, and is overseeing this new focus of care.

Dr Jamieson notes: “By optimizing blood sugar control in hospital, many studies have shown that one can improve quality of care for patients with wounds, infections, as well as heart disease and stroke. We are particularly keen to do our part in supporting the hospital’s new stroke service going into the future as, on average, 40% of patients with stroke have diabetes. We want to help people manage their diabetes, return to their homes sooner and improve their wellness and quality of life. Over the longer term this means people with diabetes experience fewer complications, and overall this helps reduce healthcare costs for individuals and the island as a whole.”

Dr Andrew Jamieson and RN Tammoi Simons

The intensive focus on inpatient care includes daily rounding of most patients with diabetes by Dr Jamieson with Diabetes Nurse Educator, Tammoi Simons. That translates to about 30 patients in the Acute Care Wing each day.

Ms Simons undertook the inpatient research on inpatients and focuses on patient education. She adds: “It is staggering to know how many people in hospital have diabetes. We can make a huge difference by reaching them while they are in our care. Our new daily rounding for diabetes gives us time to help patients understand their diagnosis and how to use their medications before they leave hospital. This reduces the chances that patients with diabetes are readmitted simply because they do not understand how to use insulin or other medications. We are also arranging up rapid response follow-up after their discharge with the DREAM Centre staff. ”

This new fast track system provides early support at the BHB’s DREAM Centre for patients who are discharged from the wards or from the Emergency Department.

Dr Jamieson explains: “If we can arrange appointments with the DREAM Centre we can help support an early discharge and give people the support they need to improve their lives. Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes in the Emergency Department or in hospital often require rapid transition to a comprehensive outpatient care once they are discharged from hospital. This is so that they can receive multi-disciplinary preventative care which is critical in preventing readmission, and controlling diabetes as well as avoiding complications in the first place.”

Dr. Jamieson is working on a new protocol for critically ill patients with diabetes and is working with Ms Simons to provide educational services for hospital staff, both nurses and physicians, who also manage patients with diabetes in the hospital.

14 August 2019 Home Page, News

Friends of Hospice and BHB sign memorandum of understanding

11 July 2019: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) and Friends of Hospice, the charity that has been supporting Bermuda’s only hospice Agape House for 25 years, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to allow Friends of Hospice to develop a new purpose-built hospice facility on the BHB-owned Harbour Vista site, situated at 25 Berry Hill Road, Paget.

Venetta Symonds, BHB CEO (seated) and Alison Soares, Friends of Hospice Chairman, sign the MOU

This Memorandum of Understanding allows Friends of Hospice to move forward with the development of the 1.23-acre site to build a hospice facility that will serve the Bermuda community for many years to come. The new site, situated on a hilltop adjacent to Kind Edward VII Memorial Hospital, will provide patients and their families with a peaceful and intimate setting with view of both Hamilton Harbour and Bermuda’s South Shore. The new facility will have 8 single patient rooms, each with access to an outdoor balcony, a central nursing station, as well as meeting rooms for families, a meditation room, all surrounded by beautiful and serene gardens.

Friends of Hospice chairman Alison Soares, said, “This is another exciting step towards creating a much-needed purpose-built new residential hospice facility for our Bermuda community. While our existing facility provides excellent care, the needs of the community have grown beyond what we can realistically and effectively provide in our existing facility, which is well over 100 years old in some parts. It is our vision that everyone deserves the right to compassion, dignity, respect and comfort in their final days and our plans for the new build will position us well to continue to provide the best hospice and palliative care for many years to come.

“There is still much work to be done before we start construction,” Ms Soares said, “but we are grateful to BHB for making it possible for us to move forward. While plans are already at an advanced stage, this allows us to complete plans with the architects, finalize costs and timelines and ultimately share all details with the community, which will be in the coming weeks.”

BHB CEO, Venetta Symonds, added: “We are very pleased to formally sign this MOU, which paves the way towards a new hospice building. Both BHB and Friends of Hospice staff working in partnership help ensure a wonderful and caring service to patients and their families. A purpose-built building provides opportunities to fully realize all the potential of this wonderful hospice service. We remain grateful to Friends of Hospice for their dedicated support and involvement over 25 years, and we are excited to move forward on this exciting project with them.”

Bermuda Hospitals Board owns and operates Agape House, which cares for patients with a broad range of serious and life-threatening illnesses, taking a holistic approach to patient care in line with international best practices. Friends of Hospice (Bermuda charity #391) is the charity providing financial support to Agape House, as well as specialized therapeutic programmes and services that are complementary to medical treatment, as well as meal services, and a number of other support services.

Additional details on Friends of Hospice’s plans for a new hospice facility – including architectural drawings and fundraising plans – will be forthcoming by end of summer.

11 July 2019 Home Page, News