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BHB Public Advisory: Donating blood and COVID-19

Wednesday 18 March 2020: The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre is accepting blood donations and encourages members of the public, who can, to donate.

Some restrictions have been added due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Persons should not donate if, in the 28 days before they donate, they have:

  • Travelled to an area with an outbreak of COVID-19
  • Lived with an individual(s) diagnosed with or suspected of being infected with COVID-19

Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is not allowed to donate until 56 days after they have made a full recovery from the illness.

Donating blood in Bermuda continues to be safe. Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers. We carefully screen all prospective donors for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This is done during both appointment booking and on arrival at the donor centre. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood.

Our screening measures are evolving in line with public health recommendations and the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you want to donate and have recently traveled outside of Bermuda please call 236 5067 to determine your eligibility and book an appointment.

We encourage the public to share the flyer below.

It’s safe to donate- flyer Mar 2020

18 March 2020 Home Page, News

COVID-19 protections for KEMH diagnostic services

Wednesday 18 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board is today moving to an appointment-only system for routine Imaging Services and Lab tests. This doesn’t affect diagnostics for patients referred through KEMH or MWI inpatient or Emergency care.

“People will no longer be able to walk in for appointments in Lab and Imaging Services, and will need to call to make an appointment,” explains Anthony Fitzgerald, Vice President, Clinical Operations (KEMH).  “This is a precautionary measure so we can do a quick telephone triage before they come in. It will also reduce the number of individuals waiting together and the volume of foot traffic through the hospital.  This encourages the physical distancing that is needed to minimise the transmission of COVID-19. While there are no COVID-19 cases confirmed in Bermuda at this time, this process change will help protect staff and patients in the hospital at a time we are on heightened alert.”

To make an appointment, please call 239-2032 for Laboratory appointments (blood and urine tests), 239-1144 for Imaging Services X-ray, CT, MRI; 239-1223 for Ultrasound, Mammography and Nuclear Medicine; and 239-1416 for the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit. For appointments made days or weeks in advance, patients are asked to call before turning up if they have any symptoms such as fever, dry cough or difficulty breathing.

“These diagnostic services need to continue to support the health needs of Bermuda,” says Mr Fitzgerald. “By moving to appointments only, we can have a level of protection in place.”

17 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB restricts visitation to protect patients, staff and supplies

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the introduction of visitor restrictions to all BHB facilities, KEMH, MWI and group homes, in an effort to safeguard patients against potential COVID-19 infections in the community, and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and gowns for frontline staff at a time of global shortage.

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, comments: “We do not take this step lightly, as we recognize the power of family in visiting people when they are unwell, or vulnerable. But we also have to acknowledge that a COVID-19 infection can be much more serious and deadly for seniors and people with existing medical conditions – and these are the people we care for.”

The restrictions across all facilities are effective immediately and are as follows:

  • For general acute care patients, long term care and residential units, only immediate family/carers will be allowed to visit.
  • For patients on isolation (wherever they are), only one visitor will be allowed, once per day.

BHB offers free wi-fi for patients and visitors, so strongly recommends that anyone in hospital brings or is given a smart phone or mobile device by their loved ones with video messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Skype, etc.

Dr Michael Richmond, Chief of Staff, explains: “We apologise to people who want to visit their loved ones, but hope they understand we must put our patients and staff first.  Many people do not get seriously ill from COVID-19 or have no symptoms at all, so we anticipate someone could inadvertently visit their loved one and infect them. Additionally, we need to preserve personal protective equipment in the face of global shortages. We are preparing in case COVID-19 is an issue for many months, or longer. Our expectation is that we may have to close visiting at some point if COVID-19 spreads locally, but this balance gives patients and residents some access to the love and support of their families, while reducing the risks of exposure and preserving personal protective equipment.”

People are reminded not to visit their loved ones if they feel unwell with fever, dry cough, trouble breathing or any other symptoms. They should also not visit if they have returned from overseas, or been in contact with someone with the above symptoms, in the last 14 days.

15 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB suspends non-emergency surgery to prepare for COVID-19 threat

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the suspension of non-urgent, elective surgery as it prepares for a potential increased number of critically ill patients with COVID-19. This will allow for surgical and operating theatre staff to be upskilled and trained in the basics of critical care management as rapidly as possible.

Emergency and urgent, including cancer, surgeries will continue.

Dr Richmond, Chief of Staff, comments: “We do not take this step lightly and apologise to elective surgery patients who will no doubt feel frustration, anxiety and upset.  We are, however, facing an unprecedented situation. As an island we do not have access to a bank of staff to just bring in to work, so we are looking to maximise the resources we have to care for the most critically ill who may come to us.

“We do not have confirmed COVID-19 cases yet in Bermuda, but we have to prepare in case they do come and in case the situation escalates quickly, as has happened elsewhere. We cannot wait to start the training. At the moment it is unknown when the worst will be over, so unfortunately I can’t provide a date when surgeries will resume. We will constantly monitor the situation, however, and re-start as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Dr Richmond, concludes: “I would add that all the preventative measures individuals can take will help the hospital and entire health system cope and save lives. We can slow down the spread by washing hands; not touching our faces; coughing and sneezing into tissues; wearing masks if we are sick; and avoiding groups, meetings, shaking hands and hugs. This will give us the opportunity to manage the demand on healthcare more effectively. If we do not act as individuals and a community, we may experience a sudden peak and the healthcare system could struggle.”

15 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB road traffic accident statistics for January-February 2020

Thursday 11 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board road traffic accident statistics for the period 1 January – 29 February 2020, shows the following:

  • 87 cases were seen in the Emergency Department (including the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre)  due to road traffic accidents
  • 9 people required admission to an acute ward
  • 2 minors were admitted to an acute ward
  • 2 of the cases seen in Emergency were tourists

You can download a pdf of the statistics by clicking the links below.

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31 January

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January -29 February

12 March 2020 Home Page, News

Traffic disruptions at KEMH campus on Monday and Tuesday

Friday 6 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board advises the public that there will be no through traffic between Point Finger Road and Berry Hill Road on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) campus from 6am to 11am on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 March 2020.

A crane and flatbed will be stationed outside the old emergency to facilitate removal of an old and installation of a new air-handling unit.

During this period, emergency vehicles and people attending the Emergency Department should use the Point Finger Road entrance. Ambulances will enter and exit on Point Finger Road.

All KEMH parking lots will be accessible – the Acute Care Wing and Agape House from Point Finger Road and the General Wing from Berry Hill Road.

For your safety and the safety of others, please use caution and adhere to the barriers, signage and directions of security officers.

Bermuda Hospitals Board apologises to the public for any inconvenience caused by this disruption.

6 March 2020 Home Page, News

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

Apply for a Bermuda Hospitals Board position from your mobile phone

Tuesday 3 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) has upgraded its job application software. The move makes applying for a BHB position easy even from your mobile phone. All job vacancies for BHB positions can be found by clicking the Work at BHB section on Interested applicants must apply directly on the site.

The upgrade makes the application fully accessible on mobile devices and allows applicants to upload their resumes and certifications to their application.

“We are pleased to offer these expanded application capabilities, to the community,” said Ilethea Simmons, BHB Human Resources Recruiter. At BHB it’s our mission to provide safe, high quality people-centred, compassionate care to the community every single day. Improving our application software will help us attract the best candidates to join our team – to fullfil our common aim.”

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

BHB releases internal management accounts data

Tuesday 18 February 2020: BHB is releasing internal management accounts data from fiscal year 2017, up to and including the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, the latest quarter available. These represent the data shared with staff and the Board, but are unaudited. BHB will continue to provide internal management accounts data quarterly and update information online, as BHB does with its quarterly posting of quality patient safety data, annual plan of projects, statistics by fiscal year and patient satisfaction data by fiscal year.

Additional resources that are already on BHB’s website and can provide additional background to some or all of the years include details of projects, statistics and strategy documents developed:

Update on the current status of BHB’s auditing process since early February 2020:

  • BHB’s 2015 Annual Report has been submitted to the Ministry of Health to start the legislative process.
  • The audit for the 2016 Financial Statements was signed off by the Auditor General last week.
  • BHB is pleased to note that both fiscal years have received unqualified audits.
  • The 2016 financial statements are being presented to BHB’s Finance & Audit Subcommittee this month, after which the annual report will be laid out with a management report.
  • Focus will now be on completing the auditing process for fiscal years 2017 to 2019.

Overview of internal management accounts data for full fiscal years 2017 to 2019:

Comparing the three full fiscal years between 2017 and 2019, total revenue rose from $324.7 million to $329.8 million between fiscal year 2017 and 2019, a rise of $5.1 million or 1.5% over three years. The dip in revenue for 2018 represents a one-off $25 million cut in hospital subsidy.

Total expenses rose from $316.8 million to $329.0 million over this time period, representing $13 million or 3.9% in total.

A substantial increase was experienced in repairs and maintenance, which increased from $18.9 million to $26.9 million, which is 42% or $8 million. This reflects the increasing cost of keeping the ageing KEMH General Wing and MWI facilities safe for patient care. Salaries and benefits, which includes overtime and the costs of casual staff, as well as regular salaries, rose 3% from $188.7 million to $194.3 million.

In the fiscal years 2017-19, BHB revenue was substantially made up of fee-for-service charges, with the addition of an MWI grant and a partial grant for long-term care. In June 2019, BHB moved to a fixed government grant of $322 million.

Achievements over the three years included:

  • Launch of a five-year BHB strategic plan in 2016/17, and the commitment to the triple aim of improving patient outcomes, improving patient satisfaction and reducing the per capita cost of care.
  • Development and publishing of a Clinical Services Plan in 2018 to address improving the health and care of Bermuda’s community, with better community management of chronic illness and a stronger safety net after discharge, to reducing the need for expensive hospital services.
  • Development of a four-year Financial Recovery Plan to manage a $25 million cut in hospital subsidy in 2017/18, which was revised in 2018/2019 due to the expectation of the fixed income agreement which was implemented in June 2019.
  • Initiation of a Service Improvement Programme, with the support of KPMG, to improve effectiveness and efficiency of clinical and administrative processes.
  • Collaborative partnership entered into with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, to train and support clinical staff in working on quality improvement projects.
  • Clinical agreement entered into with Johns Hopkins in 2019.

Management Account Figures (Unaudited) FY2017 – Q3 FY2020

18 February 2020 Home Page, News