The new Critical Care Block at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) is said to be on time, on budget and more than 90 per cent complete.
On Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie, his Cabinet and other health care professionals took a lengthy tour of the new four-storey building.
To date the $55 million, 66,000 square foot, expansion is the largest single investment in healthcare infrastructure the country has ever seen.
Upon completion the Critical Care Block will include six operating theaters with iPod docking stations, 20 intensive care unit rooms, 48 neonatal intensive care beds, 18 recovery beds, a new hospital entry and over $20 million worth of equipment.
Prime Minister Christie said the tour was a good experience for him and his Cabinet to see the work that has been done so far.
“Hospital work is an ongoing exercise,” he said. “So clearly for me I’ve always had a major curiosity as to what kinds of surgery can be done in these new surgical suites.
“The one concern I had was whether or not, having spent all this money, doctors would be able to perform complex heart surgical interventions here and I’m told the physical premises are sufficiently accommodating to enable that to happen.”
Another major component of this new facility located on Burnside Lane and Shirley Street is the new state-of-the-art specimen labs being built.
Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez said while he is happy with what he had seen so far, there are some lingering concerns with the numbers of adult beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) which will house one patient per room.
“Yes, that’s a concern for me because my comment was that 20 beds in an ICU today is less than what we has in the previous 50 years and now the population has quadrupled,” Dr. Gomez said.
“The need for ICU beds is much more we will probably still have the issue but not to the extent we’ve had. We’ve been taking the sickest of the sick in the ICU.”
But Dr. Gomez said this is no time for criticisms and added that this building and all it encompasses is a good step in the right direction.
Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Managing Director Herbert Brown spoke to the intensive training needed to keep this facility running.
“One of the things we’ve done leading up to where we are today is that we started a critical care training programme which was certified by the World College in the United Kingdom, so training is ongoing,” he added.
“So we are satisfied that nurses are being trained and in addition to nurses being trained there are other categories of staff being trained so that once we open we have the staff we need.”
Mr. Brown said he is also happy to report that the project is on budget, having only spent just over $51 million of the $55 million allocated to it.
The building will be turned over to the government in October and is expected to be officially opened soon after.