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Chronic disease service to begin this year

Medical Clinic services promised by the One Bermuda Alliance will be made available and won't be delayed, according to Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.

A new clinical service for the chronically ill will commence in November, she said.

Earlier this month, the Minister told The Royal Gazette that budget problems at the Bermuda Hospitals Board were worse than realised when the new administration pledged in March to have the Medical Clinic open by September 8.

The service, once known as the indigent care clinic but closed down in 2007, was intended to restore treatment for the Island's most vulnerable population.

However, the “economic crisis facing BHB' meant that full clinic services wouldn't make the six-month deadline, Ms Gordon-Pamplin conceded.

Nonetheless, in Friday's House of Assembly, the Minister told MPs: “In keeping with the commitment made by this Government, I confirm that Medical Clinic services will be offered to those who require them, and that there will be a wellness component appended to the utilisation of those services.”

She said the Ministry was tackling chronic disease as a first priority, with further clinical services to be offered in a later phase.

The rising problems of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease have become “a major factor in crippling our economy”, Ms Gordon-Pamplin added, due to soaring costs for acute care.

She said a Community Health Section from the Health Department had taken up the challenge for patients lacking access to continuous care of chronic conditions.

“The phases will be rolled out gradually over the next two years,” said Ms Gordon-Pamplin. “But phase one will begin to be implemented in November, in the form of a new public health service referred as the Beyond Wellness Medical Clinic.”

She added that this new initiative “does not purport to be the solution to the problem of chronic disease management” — or to be the solution for “financially underprivileged citizens in this regard”.

However, it would drive part of chronic disease management out of acute care, and into a more “financially sustainable community setting”, she said.

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Published September 16, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 16, 2013 at 12:04 am)

Chronic disease service to begin this year

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