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Hospital to get extra $15m funding to make up for shortfalls

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Hospitals Board will receive an additional $15 million government grant this fiscal year, the Premier and Minister of Finance announced on Friday.

During the 2023-24 Budget Statement, David Burt said that in 2018 the Government agreed to provide the hospital with $322 million of funding each year, but never honoured this promise.

He added: “As a result, our hospital has gone from a position of having cash reserves to one where they now have an overdraft facility for major operations.”

Mr Burt praised the BHB for reducing its expenses as much as possible while staying within the 2018 funding model.

He added: “Just as the Government keeps its commitment to our bondholders, we must also keep our commitment to the BHB to ensure that our country’s only hospital is properly funded.”

In addition to the $15 million supplement, the Government also plans to increase funding to the BHB for the next fiscal year to guarantee that the hospital can function smoothly.

The Premier did not specify how much more funding will be allocated in the future.

The BHB’s chief financial officer, Arthur Ebbin, said the organisation had “worked hard to meet its budgetary obligations, and we appreciate both the understanding from Government and the position Government has been in over the last few years”.

“The $15 million payment in the Budget certainly helps move us towards the budget that had been mutually agreed, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure we are running as efficiently as possible and to the highest standards.

“We have made significant savings over the last few years, but Covid-19 caused an unexpected and large, unfunded financial burden.

“We were further impacted by having a flat budget for the last four years, despite the rising cost of goods and services, and the need for budgetary obligations to be met also meant that we had begun to rely on our overdraft facility more frequently.

“Thanks to the efforts of all our staff on the front line and in leadership, care has not been impacted by the financial challenges.

“In fact, a lot has been achieved that positions us well to continue to raise the bar on quality and improve efficiency through the healthcare integration programme and successful go-live of our first-ever organisation-wide electronic medical record.

“We appreciate the timing of this payment, however, as going into the next fiscal year our financial position would have had an increasingly detrimental effect on our ability to maintain, repair and keep pace with healthcare developments.”

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Published February 20, 2023 at 7:45 am (Updated February 20, 2023 at 7:45 am)

Hospital to get extra $15m funding to make up for shortfalls

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