With the pilot for the 24-hour polyclinic service proving a major success a month after launch, Government is pushing for a September start for the second phase at the David Thompson Health and Wellness Complex in St John.
Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bositic told Barbados TODAY that if all goes well with the recruitment of nurses from Ghana, the St John facility, which was initially due to be rolled out with the Winston Scott Polyclinic in July, will see the round-the-clock service introduced there next month.
“We want to do St John by the end of September, and we are still very much striving for that, but a lot depends on how the process takes place with the team that is going off to Ghana. So, if all goes well with the recruitment process we are aiming to deliver on that date or as close to that date as possible,” Bostic said.
“This is still very much on the cards because the first 24-hour polyclinic is going very well and the results of the programme are indeed very positive,” the Minister noted.
The programme, which was a campaign promise in the leadup to the 2018 general elections, was designed to unburden the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of the non-critical cases.
In an update last month, Bostic reported that the polyclinic had yielded only limited success with an average of ten patients per day visiting the facility during the graveyard shift. He noted then that the initial rollout had unearthed 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 polyclinic’s urgent care service 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.”
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.
In his interview with Barbados TODAY this time around, Bostic gave a much more upbeat report card, noting that the numbers that have visited the urgent care facility have risen to the thousands in the space of a month while cutting the wait time for non-emergency matters in half.
“Within the first month, from July 1 to July 31, we would have just over 3000 visits at the polyclinic’s urgent care facility. We started out with a waiting time of four hours for those services at the QEH but the polyclinic is doing it in two hours. So, Barbadians can go to the Winston Scott 24-hour polyclinic and be out in two hours. It is a significant improvement from what they would have endured at the Accident and Emergency Department, where they would be considered non-urgent cases,” he explained.