By KHRISNA RUSSELLDeputy Chief Reporterkrussell@tribunemedia.net
IT WILL cost roughly $19m to return Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama to working condition following Hurricane Dorian, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands revealed yesterday.
Officials are eyeing the end of 2019 to have the work completed.
“So the current plan is the Rand will be closed down for repairs. There has been tremendous structural damage to the Rand and that structure damage has rendered most of the facility unsafe for occupation,” Dr Sands said in response to a question from The Tribune outside of Cabinet yesterday.
“Tuesday, a group of interested parties will be meeting with the managing director of the Public Hospitals Authority to express commitments for different projects within the Rand to bring it back to like new. We intend to do this in phases and complete it by the end of 2019.
“That said there is still an interest in a brand new facility to replace the Rand Memorial Hospital but that decision obviously requires the consent of the Cabinet of the Bahamas.”
He explained that the repairs are to be done by several private groups.
“These are donations to the people of the Bahamas, so we have benefitted from the donations of Samaritan’s Purse. They saw almost 125 patients yesterday. As a matter of fact for all intents and purposes taken over the acute care in Freeport,” Dr Sands said.
“They have in patients now, they have an intensive care unit. There is another field hospital in High Rock and they have been providing services to the people in east Grand Bahama. We also have the support of a number of non-governmental organisations and emergency medical teams in Abaco. So the hope is that the Bahamian health professionals have an opportunity to get their lives back together again as a number of these organisations have committed to be with us for as much as 120 days.
“So if we can get the Rand functioning again, if we can get our clinics functioning again; let people recover some sense of normalcy to their life then maybe we can resume ordinary services.”
Asked by The Tribune to reveal the cost for this work, Dr Sands said: “Our preliminary estimates as much as about $19m.”
Samaritan’s Purse, an international NGO, set up a state-of-the-art field hospital on Grand Bahama shortly after Hurricane Dorian’s passage.
Hospital Administrator Sharon Williams told The Tribune earlier this month that the field hospital would provide the same services that RMH offered to patients.