TOWARDS A MODERN HOSPITAL FOR ANGUILLA

anguillian
By anguillian September 28, 2015 11:38 Updated

 

 

The design for a modern and state-of-the-art hospital is not yet on the drawing board. But the Government of Anguilla, through the Ministry of Health and Social Development, and in consultation with the Board of Directors and the Health Authority, is giving much haste and credence to the initiative.

TOWARDS A MODERN HOSPITAL FOR ANGUILLA

TOWARDS A MODERN HOSPITAL FOR ANGUILLA

No one is as passionate about the idea than the Minister of Health and Social Development, Mr. Evans Mc Niel Rogers. On a personal perspective, he prides himself as a health professional having a Diploma in Medical Technology from the College of Arts, Science and Technology/University of Technology in Jamaica and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Management from Tuskegee University in Alabama. Mr. Rogers, who wanted to be a medical doctor, but could not fulfil his dreams due to family financial constraints, told The Anguillian: “I am living my life through one of my sons, Dr. Kyle Rogers, who obtained what I was aspiring to, and who is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. I have a passion for health and often describe myself as a hospital rat. This is my second time around as Minister of Health. I make no excuses for some of the things that could have been done during my first tenure, but all of that is water under the bridge, and I intend to move forward in terms of the overall development of health services in Anguilla.”
Mr. Rogers, who spoke in detail about the current level of health services available in Anguilla, disclosed that exploratory efforts were now being made towards the provision of an ultra-modern hospital to meet the growing patient needs of residents and visitors to the island. “In terms of the overall vision – is to put in place a state-of-the-art, and a completely new, medical facility in Anguilla, and it is about time that we do that,” he stated. “I dare say that while some people may think it is farfetched, at the end of the day, once it is in place, we will see its utilisation.”

Minister Evans McNiel Rogers with  Mr. George Brown and Mr. Fritz Smith

Minister Evans McNiel Rogers with
Mr. George Brown and Mr. Fritz Smith

Minister Rogers continued: “For now, it is a small group of us and we are putting together the requirements for what is called a ‘501C3 Facility’. I am working with the new Chairman of the Health Authority Board [Mr. Fritz Smith], and another member of the community, on some investigative matters. Another Anguillian, an Attorney in New York, is assisting us. It is a facility whereby wealthy Americans who grace our shores would be able to contribute to that facility and be able to claim tax relief and so on. We are also going to look to the various projects on the island for assistance, and to ensure that the same sort of service they provide for their guests is what we will be able to provide for all the inhabitants of Anguilla – whether they are natives or visitors. As I said, I will be going to all the potential developers on the island, including those who own villas and are living among us. I would not say I intend to put out a begging bowl, but will make a case with respect to where Anguilla is in terms of its hospitality industry, and where it is in terms of its healthcare. We are looking at raising between thirty and fifty million US dollars.”

Mr. Rogers said that while no design concepts had been determined for the new medical facility, a number of persons were considering certain plans and models. He explained that the aim was that when funds were being solicited, there would be something tangible to show the potential donors what the medical facility would look like and at what phase it would be at a given time. Hinting a possible location for the facility, the Minister said: “Hopefully, you would not necessarily see the beach, but, at least, have an ocean view. If the ocean is part of our [tourism] promotion and marketing, I think it also augurs well for our healthcare services.”
Mr. Rogers further stated: “As I said, an Anguillian Attorney in New York – I am not prepared to call his name – is helping us, as well as a number of professionals in medical and healthcare industries throughout the United States and the UK. They are very passionate and are buying into the vision that I have, in terms of putting down a state-of-the art medical facility in Anguilla. We have the best hotels in the region. Why can’t we have the best healthcare services?”

The Minister reported that the responses from the project developers in Anguilla were encouraging. He reasoned that, given the need for funding and approval, and the size and scope of the proposed medical facility, it was not expected to materialise during the current five-year tenure of the Government; but at least there should be some significant steps towards its realisation.
Meanwhile the Minister, who also has responsibility for Education, said he was working with the Health Authority on focusing attention on the current functioning of the health services, the concerns of staff in terms of their working conditions, contracts, professional delivery of services, public relations and further training, as well as the provision of much-needed equipment for better patient care. The Health Authority is heavily subsidised by the Government to the tune of about sixteen million dollars a year, according to Mr. Rogers. It is understood from the CEO, Mr. George Brown, that some seven million dollars is said to be owed to the Health Authority by a number of persons for healthcare services. While it is desirable that the debt is paid, the Minister has made the point that, given the economic situation, persons seeking healthcare cannot be turned away and are thus treated.

View of dialysis equipment at the Princess Alexandra Hospital

View of dialysis equipment at the Princess Alexandra Hospital

Speaking about the way forward in the present circumstances, Mr. Rogers said: “We have a returning Minister of Health; a new Chairman of the Health Authority Board and a relatively new CEO (Mr. George Brown). I think it is only right [for me] to sit with the CEO and the Chairman of the Board and to have an understanding about where we are, and where I intend to take the Ministry of Health. It is not only meeting with the corporate and administrative staff, but I have to meet with the technical staff: the nurses, the doctors, the ancillary staff – the folks in the kitchen and the laundry and so forth. I have to meet with all of them because, at the end of the day, in order to improve the delivery of healthcare and health services in general, no one must be isolated… As a healthcare professional, I want to have a hands-on knowledge, to a certain extent, to get things going in the right direction. It is not that things are going in the wrong direction, but there is always room for improvement.”
In terms of equipment, the Minister lamented that there was an archaic CT scanner at the hospital. He said he would be seeking to raise funds for a new piece of equipment. He was pleased that a new foetal monitor was donated by the Governor’s Office, to be handed over shortly. He was also delighted that two new dialysis chairs had been added bringing the number to eight to provide healthcare to an increasing number of diabetic patients from Anguilla – as well as from a number of regional islands where such a service is not available. He is proud of that facility and the many persons it is helping. However, he sees the crying need for an intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital – another important facility requiring philanthropic funding.

As stated earlier, Mr Fritz Smith is the new Chairman of the Health Authority Board, having replaced Ms Tara Carter Harrigan, a busy Attorney-at-Law. Smith, Chairman of the governing Anguilla United Front Party, said he had informed his colleagues that, with the campaign and general election over, he had decided to take a low profile as he had a full-time job and did not wish to serve on any board or have any other responsibility. He said, however, that he was offered the appointment as Chairman of the Health Authority Board by the Minister who approached him in such a manner that he could not decline.
“I do not have a specific vision as Chairman of the Board,” he pointed out. “My vision is that of the Anguilla United Front as expressed in our Manifesto. The mandate that the Minister handed down to me, such as the medical facility, he talked about, is key. Then there are some issues with the morale of staff – and the Minister is also concerned about the image and confidence level that the people of Anguilla, the users of the services, have in the Health Authority of Anguilla. The Minister wants to ensure that we deal with those issues, including the morale of our staff, and the whole level of building the confidence of the people. That’s the mandate of the Board and I as Chairman. Some of the issues might be so simple that if they were fixed they would do something positive to the morale of the staff.”hos4

Mr. Brown, a national of Jamaica, has been in the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Health Authority of Anguilla since in November 2014, and has overall responsibility for the functions of the various branches and committees of the service. “The Health Authority does generate revenue,” he said. “We charge nominal fees for our services and that’s why we need equipment and persons to deliver the expected quality services. Healthcare is expensive. It is expensive from the perspective that we need knowledgeable persons and you have to pay for that service. It is also expensive from the perspective that the instruments and facilities we use are specially-designed just for that market.”
Like the Minister, and the Chairman of the Health Authority Board, Mr. Brown wants to see an excellent-functioning system of health services in Anguilla, and is looking forward to the day when the island will have a modern medical state-of-the -art facility.

anguillian
By anguillian September 28, 2015 11:38 Updated

Advertisement

Latest Poll

Do you like the new layout of the Anguillian ?