After what could only be described as a bumpy July 1 start following several delays, Barbadians are responding well to the new 24-hour polyclinic service, according to Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic.
He told reporters this afternoon that the pilot for the round-the-clock services, the Winston Scott Polyclinic, at Ladymeade Gardens, Jemmotts Lane, was already relieving some of the burden from the Accident and Emergency Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
“The clinic so far has been very well received by patients and fully supported by doctors, nurses and staff. I am happy to report that so far things are going quite well.
“A number of patients have been visiting the polyclinic and for the first three days we would have averaged about 95 patients per day and during the graveyard shift, about ten persons per day would have visited the polyclinic,” Bostic told a news conference at Parliament.
The Health Minister said he was confident that the numbers will increase as persons become more familiar with the new services. He told reporters that even though it was early days for the project, he was already seeing a reduction in the congestion at the hospital’s A&E.
He said: “There has been a decrease at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Accident and Emergency; it is not as obvious at this point in time as we would like because it is only just started and we also have a situation where the hospital is full and even with the Winston Scott Polyclinic, you still have a large number of persons waiting on the inside to be seen.
“Those persons that we are seeing at the Winston Scott Polyclinic are persons that are expected to be discharged, the flow has started, and we expect it to continue. So I would certainly be able to say something more definitively at the end of the first month.”
Earlier, the Minister had revealed that based on the success of the urgent care programme at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, Government would have a better gauge of how and when it would roll out the second phase of the service at the David Thompson Health and Wellness Complex in St John.
Bostic was not able to provide reporters with any further information on how close Government is to starting phase two, but he noted that the initial rollout was unearthing areas that needed to be ironed out. He pointed out that all was not smooth sailing as there were some transport issues to be worked out in order to transfer patients from the QEH to the urgent care service at the polyclinic late at night.
Lt. Col. Bostic said: “We have a transportation issue between the QEH and the polyclinic. Once that has been rectified, and I am told that this should be sorted out shortly, then the QEH would be able to send persons from Accident and Emergency to Winston Scott, especially in the very late hours.”
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