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Another $10 million in fundraising needed for new hospital wing

A further $10 million in fundraising is needed to cover a $40 million payment for Bermuda's new hospital wing before next year's impending deadline.

However, Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she was “completely optimistic and confident” that the campaign by the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Trust would reach its goal.

BHCT launched its Why it Matters campaign in April 2011 to raise the capital due from Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) to project investors Paget Health Services.

The money must be paid upon the completion of the new medical facility — originally slated for April 1, 2014.

BHB is liable for covering any shortfall in that one-off payment.

Asked about backups in place for cash-strapped BHB — which Chairman Jonathan Brewin has said might slip into debt by the end of the current fiscal year — the Minister said: “While there is a contingency plan in effect, we are focusing on the positive, and will roll out that alternative plan should the need arise.”

Ms Gordon-Pamplin recently announced a “slight delay” in the April 1 deadline, which she said would allow the BHCT extra time to solicit donations for the cause.

A spokeswoman for the Trust said the group had so far raised almost $30 million, and was confident of meeting its objectives.

“At this time, we are solely focused on fundraising and will continue to rally support from companies, organisations and individuals.”

She added: “This is our Island and our hospital, and we all have a stake in the game.”

And a spokeswoman for BHB pointed out that the construction project for the $247 million hospital wing is backed by a Government guarantee.

BHB Chairman, Mr Brewin said: “BHB has been very conservative in its planning to ensure both best case and worst case scenarios are prepared for. In terms of the one-off payment, we still have every confidence there will be a successful fundraising campaign where the generosity of individuals, families and companies of Bermuda are able to donate $40m.

“But we have potential plans should this not materialise and through careful planning and discussion with the BHCT and Government, we have a number of options to help us meet our obligations. We will continue to work closely with our partners and remain extremely grateful for all donations received. Every dollar raised helps healthcare and Bermuda.”

The $40 million one-off payment signals the start of an expensive year for BHB, as outlined for Wednesday's Senate by Junior Health Minister Lynne Woolridge.

She said that Paget Health Services (PHS) was committed to maintaining the new hospital wing over the next three decades — but added BHB will face “significant” payments.

“In the first year, the monthly payments to PHS are about $2.5 million,” Senator Woolridge said.

On top of this, BHB must cover general running costs such as staffing and cleaning — costs which Sen Woolridge described as “substantial”. After the first year, 70 percent of the payments to PHS will remain fixed — with the other 30 percent subject to variables such as inflation and insurance.

“This means there is significant pressure on BHB to manage the contract well, to ensure it is adhered to, and BHB is putting the necessary management arrangements in place,” Sen Woolridge said.

More fundraising needed: Part of the new hospital wing is visible through the scaffolding and sheeting at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

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Published November 22, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm)

Another $10 million in fundraising needed for new hospital wing

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