Pressure at KEMH forces Lamb Foggo weekday closures
A high volume of emergency visits and pressure on hospital beds means that the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be closed on weekdays for at least a month, the Bermuda Hospitals Board said today.
Medical staff will be focused “where the most unwell patients are” to cater to the workload at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
A BHB spokeswoman said: “The UCC will remain open during its usual hours on weekends from 9am to 9pm.
“This only relates to urgent care services and does not impact the weekly Integrated Healthcare Clinic that runs on Wednesdays.”
The spokeswoman warned that the clinic could be closed for longer than a month depending on the level of pressure and resources needed at KEMH.
Chikezie Dean Okereke, the chief of emergency, explained: “The closure on weekdays helps us focus emergency staff at KEMH to manage the pressures being felt in the emergency department.
“Emergency visits right now are high and bed occupancy within BHB is also under pressure, so we are focusing our nurse and physician resources where the most unwell patients are.
“This has happened to us before as we move into the colder months.”
He added: “The emergency patient numbers are not related to any one cause.
“They are multifactorial and include, among others, a generally unwell and increasingly ageing population.
“We expect the UCC will remain closed on the weekdays for at least a month, but we will continually review the situation.”
KEMH regularly sees more patients during the colder months due to the cold and flu season.
The complexity of cases also impacts the hospital’s capacity to care for patients and how long they will be admitted, as well as the number of people who have to be admitted and the amount of available staff.
A BHB spokeswoman said it was not uncommon for other healthcare services to be closed down and resources focused on the hospital if the demand became too great.
She added: “At these times we reduce the urgent care service so that resources are focused on those who are most unwell.
“We regularly reduce UCC hours in winter months for this reason, but it can happen outside of winter too.”
Wesley Miller, the BHB’s chief of staff, said: “There are ways we each can reduce the need for emergency visits that are better for our quality of life as well as reducing pressure in the hospital.
“We would urge people to manage their known chronic illnesses and see their GP as needed for advice and treatment, before it requires a hospital visit.
“We are also entering a time when respiratory illnesses are rising. People should do all they can to protect themselves by getting their flu and Covid vaccines, especially if they are older or have pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to serious complications.
“We also want to see people drive more carefully on the roads, avoiding unnecessary and sometimes very serious injuries.
“Finally, we ask that people who are ready for discharge are helped home or to a nursing placement by their loved ones and families. We still experience people staying in hospital longer than they need to be and this causes delays that impact emergency staff as patients wait there longer for an inpatient bed.”