With over 100 Ghanaian nurses expected in Barbados in the coming weeks, plans for extended opening hours at the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex are back on track.
Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic gave the update today as he outlined details on having the St John Polyclinic open for longer hours, seven days a week.
He said while he had been hoping for a larger number of nurses from Ghana, they would help to bolster the complement at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) as well as the district hospitals and polyclinics across the island.
“We had to put some brakes on the 24-hour service at the St John Polyclinic and that was because of issues we had in relation to the nurses from Ghana. Obviously countries started to go on lockdown. Ghana itself had to deal with COVID-19, but throughout the last several weeks we have been in constant contact with parties in Ghana.
“I had a meeting about a week and a half ago with the Minister of Health of Ghana and they are ready to go. Everything now has been done at our end and right now we are in the process of arranging for a flight to bring the nurses from Ghana to Barbados within the next few weeks and once those nurses have arrived, have done their quarantine and so on then we will have a better picture of determining when we will commence the service at St John Polyclinic,” Bostic said.
The minister reiterated that it would not be a full 24-hour polyclinic initially but will have extended opening hours.
He said this was also due to a lack of transportation in St John and surrounding areas.
Bostic said the expected arrival of Transport Board buses would help in that regard.
“The clinic will run seven days a week and later hours than it currently does and that is because the transportation situation in the country does not facilitate a 24-hour operation at St John.
“We are awaiting the arrival of those buses so that we can sit with MTW [Ministry of Transport and Works] and the Transport Authority to determine some routes that will facilitate easy access to the clinic at St John,” he said,
The minister also revealed that the number of persons from the catchment areas of St John, St George, St Joseph, St Andrew, who were utilizing the Winston Scott Polyclinic’s 24-hour service, were not at high enough levels to give them confidence to go full 24-hour at the St John Polyclinic.
He however acknowledged that this could be due to a lack of transportation.