Groundbreaking at First Urgent Care Centre in Southside, St David’s

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is pleased today to break ground for the first Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at the site of Southside, St David’s. The event was led by the Acting Minister for Health, the Hon. Elvin James MP JP, and David Hill, BHB’s Chief Executive Officer.

This is the first of two UCCs planned for Bermuda, with the goal of improving access to care for people in the East and West of the Island. The Western UCC will be in Southampton, but the initial focus is on completing the Eastern UCC due to the potential for the causeway to become impassable during and after hurricanes. It is due to open by April 2009.

The UCCs will offer close-to-home care for people who have minor accidents or sudden illnesses in the East or West of Bermuda. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital will remain the central emergency care centre and will deal with life-threatening injuries and conditions due to its advanced diagnostic and surgical services,

“Current healthcare services are largely concentrated near or within the City of Hamilton and our concern is to improve access to urgent care for our communities at either end of the Island,” comments Acting Minister James. “We are pleased to be breaking ground already in the East. Alongside the need for urgent healthcare services to be close by, the East End in particular can be cut off from healthcare services completely if the causeway becomes impassable due to a hurricane.”

Mr. Hill adds: “Our Emergency Department at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is under increasing pressure with the numbers increasing each year. Last year there were about 35,000 visits to our Emergency Department. This leads to longer waits for people, especially for the kinds of non-life-threatening injuries that the UCCs will be able to deal with easily. The UCCs will therefore help us reduce pressure at the centre, and also reduce wait times for people at the UCC and hospital. ”

The UCCs will be managed by the Bermuda Hospitals Board to ensure it dovetails into the Island’s overall emergency service. Basic diagnostic equipment (such as ultrasound and x-ray), pharmacy and laboratory (blood test) services will be provided. In the event of a disaster at either end of the island, they will also function as a Disaster Centre to deal with casualties. Clinical services at the UCC will be overseen by BHB’s Director of Emergency, Dr Edward Schultz.

Dr Schultz notes: “We have received requests for many years to provide a greater measure of medical coverage at the East and West ends of the island. The introduction of Urgent Care Centers is a good example of Government responding to the will of the people of Bermuda and it is exciting to be participating in this project as it comes to fruition. It is important for the public to understand, however, the scope of services that the Urgent Care Centres will provide. Patients with major medical and surgical emergencies will still need to attend the Emergency Department at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital because of the far greater array of support services that will continue to be offered at this location. As we proceed with this undertaking, we will need to ensure patients attend the correct facility in order for us to deliver the optimal level of care that they require.”


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