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Special measures being taken to build hospital

Construction work at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) could be distressing to patients, Health Minister Zane DeSilva noted on Friday.

He told the House of Assembly that anyone who has tried to live in a house where renovations or construction were underway would understand the challenges.

“Noise, vibrations and dust can make it a very distressing time. Well the hospital is no different in fact the stakes are higher.

“There are patients trying to rest, get treatment and have tests, there are open wounds from surgeries or accidents.

“And people with respiratory problems like pneumonia, asthma and lung disease, the potential for dust to cause infections or cause further breathing problems is not only real, but perhaps also life-threatening. “

He said hospitals around the world dealt with this when undergoing construction and renovations.

Mr DeSilva said the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) was following best practices to ensure the hospital keeps running and is able to protect its patients.

They are assisting construction workers to get specialist training regarding construction in health care environments, he said.

The BHB recently held eight training sessions, attended by 117 construction workers. It provided them with specialist training regarding construction in health-care environments, he said.

A BHB spokeswoman said there had been no formal complaints by patients about the construction work. She added: “There is mandatory training for all on the hospital site to ensure it is safe and all appropriate processes are being carried out to ensure patient safety.

“Our infection prevention [team] constantly monitor the environment and have the ability to stop construction through the project office if there was an issue.”

She said the contractor, along with the Infection Prevention Team and other BHB staff, had to undertake appropriate risk assessments. BHB has also had to issue Infection Control permits prior to any work going forward.

“With regards neighbours we work to keep them informed and keep dialogue open. Dust has not been a major factor at this time.”

According to Mr DeSilva, the Johns Hopkins medical review of the BHB estate master plan showed the hospital needed 50 percent more space for acute clinical care to meet the Island's needs.

He said: “More acute care space is not just nice to have, it is a necessity. We need to make sure we have space for our Bermudian people.

“Limited space limits the number and types of high quality services that can be provided safely on the Island.

“This forces more people to travel overseas for more medical care and this directly impacts local health care costs. Limited space also compromises patient safety.”

Mr DeSilva said the hospital currently was squeezing two to four people into each of its patient rooms, which increased the risk of infection.

“Finally limited space compromises the quality, dignity and comfort of our people in the hospital. This is no small matter, especially if you are stuck in the corridor with people walking past as you wait for an important MRI or X-ray scan.

“Or having a bed-bath with others in the room or being wheeled from maternity up to a public corridor and elevator for a surgery for an emergency C-section for example.”

Mr DeSilva said the experience of a patient in the hospital would impact their recovery, hence the importance of the medical review.

The review also looked at the affordability of developing the space on the existing hospital site, he said. It determined the existing KEMH could be developed so that BHB would not have to look at an off-site location for the facility for the foreseeable future.

Construction continues at the the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Paget.

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Published March 07, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 07, 2011 at 9:01 am)

Special measures being taken to build hospital

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