Staff & Patients at PMH have their say at Urgent Care Project Town Meeting

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Staff and patients at the Princess Margaret Hospital getting first-hand information on the Urgent & Emergency Care Project. A town meeting held in the hospital’s pharmacy waiting area on February 21 st, afforded attendees an opportunity to learn more about the mammoth project now underway. The forum which also fielded questions from the audience was the first of several town meetings planned at the hospital and for the Elizabeth Estates Clinic and South Beach Health Centre.
The Urgent Care & Emergency Care Project will reform the delivery of urgent care and emergency services throughout New Providence with infrastructure, staffing, training and service upgrades at the Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department in addition to improvements at the Elizabeth Estates Clinic and South Beach Health Centre.

Project Manager for the Urgent Care Project and Deputy Hospital Administrator at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Jessica Cartwright introduced the project noting, “we are trying to re-engineer all of our services to try to make sure that our patients are at the center and drive everything that we do, and Accident & Emergency is no different. We have heard through an assessment from our patients, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there, miscommunication, patients feel that they are not updated enough, there are long waits in the Accident & Emergency Department among others, and so this project, and the component that speaks to the Public Hospitals Authority, we are aiming to address these points.”

Speaking to the expansion and renovation of the hospital’s Emergency Department was Project Lead for Capital Development and Healthcare Planner, Mr. Terrence Cartwright. “What we are trying to do is bring all of our services in line with accepted international standards. We are
working hand in hand with the Department of Public Health and their clinics in South Beach and Elizabeth Estates, and by extension Anne’s Town, Flemming Street and other places, to be able to receive the patients that need care, but don’t necessarily have to go into Accident & Emergency. We are hearing from people who wait eight or ten hours in emergency. If you have a cold, the flu or cough and someone comes in with a gunshot, you get placed second, third, fourth or fifth. Those services can be readily seen at the clinics, and we by extension are
extending the hours at those particular facilities.” He further noted, “In South Beach, we are expanding the facility to include ambulance bays,
urgent care, and emergency bays, asthma bays and the rest in order to be able to facilitate what needs to be done.” The first stage of renovation and expansion work at the Princess Margaret Hospital will
encompass the external areas west of the Accident & Emergency Department leading to Elizabeth Avenue. This work will require that the Maternity Ward Entrance be used for incoming emergencies including patients arriving by ambulance and those dropped off by private
vehicles.

The main hospital entrance, located in the Critical Care Block will become the main entrance for walk-in patients and visitors to the Accident Emergency Department. The external works are expected to take approximately six months. The first stage of construction will also include redeveloping the decanted spaces that formerly housed the Medical/Surgical Supplies Department (MSSD) and Central Sterile Supplies Department (CSSD) services, to accept Orthopedic services and Wound Care services. It expected that the first stage of the work will take approximately three months. The second stage of construction is the development of a Pediatric Emergency Care area, dedicated for pediatric patients. Observation rooms will also form a significant part of the renovation works.

With construction expected to begin within the next six weeks, both the Deputy Hospital Administrator and the Infrastructure Lead spoke to the project team’s participants desire to hear from both staff and patients throughout the duration of the work. “We will be holding these Town Meetings every month, with the next meeting planned for April”
Ms. Cartwright assured participants. “As we go through the Town Hall Meetings we will share with you some of the new or additional services or features that will be part of the revised, renovated Accident & Emergency Department so that you have an appreciation for what is
changing at the Princess Margaret Hospital.”

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