Residents of St Andrew now have a newly-renovated and modernized outpatient clinic.
The facility, which was due for permanent closure, will allow residents to access community-based services in an enhanced atmosphere.
At today’s opening ceremony, Minister of Health and Wellness Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic said due to serious infrastructural issues that plagued the building in the past, his ministry made the decision to carry out a complete overhaul of the facility.
Bostic said: “This outpatient’s clinic is now moving into the digital age. We have outfitted this clinic with six computers. We have upgraded the telephone system. They have printers and everything in here so that we are now going to digitize the records and everything in relation to this outpatients’ clinic. You will be able to make appointments online because we now have the facility here to be able to do that and that would improve a lot of things for the clients who utilize the services.”
The minister said that while the clinic opened its doors between two to three times per week in the past, it is his ministry’s intention that residents can access services daily. In fact, Bostic said he hoped that in the near future, the St Andrew and also the St Joseph outpatient clinics which were reopened on Monday after refurbishment, can become centres of excellence for the delivery of Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) care services and the promotion of wellness activities throughout rural communities.
“Going forward, we want to see an outpatient clinic that will help the ministry, that will help the Government, in reducing the burden of NCDs on the country because that is a very serious issue and one that is even more serious than COVID-19.
“That will support the efforts of the Government in terms of the community programme that the Prime Minister mandated that we do at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), in relation to NCDs,” Bostic said. “If we can get the services in the communities sorted out properly and offered in a variety of ways, it reduces the number of persons going to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and also reduces the cost of healthcare in this country and gives people a better quality of life.”
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, said regrettably, the outpatient clinic has been closed since April 2007 to 2011 before it had a minor refurbishment and was reopened. However, Mottley said once again the building fell into dereliction forcing her Government to make major decisions about its future.
She said the clinic was established in the 1970’s to assist with the delivery of community healthcare service in Barbados.
In his remarks, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Dr Rommel Springer, said that residents welcomed the renovated facility and urged Barbadians to take better care of their health, including taking responsibility for what they put into their bodies and minds, while finding time to exercise and relax.
“I challenge you to do all that you can to promote and to ensure the overall wellness of our community. That is my challenge to the people of St Andrew. As I stand here in the presence of our first female Prime Minister, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge another first lady, our first female parliamentarian, Dame Edna Ermie Bourne, who herself was a champion of community healthcare. In the 1950’s, Ermie saw the need for healthcare professionals to service this Belplaine area.
“And so she requested that a district nurse be stationed in the Belleplaine AlmsHouse who could provide healthcare for the people in this community. She was also instrumental in instituting a community nurse system where nurses would visit the sick at home if persons were unable to attend the clinic. This early form of community nursing was extremely beneficial to the elderly and to women, especially women during childbirth. To my mind, this clinic that we are reopening today, is just an expansion of the vision that Ermie had for the people of St Andrew,” Dr Springer said.