Hospital & Minister Comment On CCU Protest

July 19, 2013

[Updated] Following yesterday’s [July 18] small protest march, the Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] said they “will continue to communicate with its staff, residents and families, and also work with the Ministry on the issue of long term care.”

Yesterday a small group of people gathered at the hospital to protest the future closure of the Continuing Care Unit [CCU] at KEMH.

“We work hard for our patients, we are going to stand firm and we are going to stand together and we are going to fight this. Because where are these patients going to go?” said one of the organisers of yesterday’s event.

“We have special patients with Alzheimers and dementia, there is nowhere in the community for Alzheimers and dementia patients to go. So we need to fight this…”

Minister of Health and Seniors Patricia Gordon-Pamplin previously said that “If the CCU closes, it will not be in the next few days, the next few weeks or even the next few months. Any closure will be done over the course of at least two years.”

“I understand that the staff at the Hospital [especially those who provide service at the CCU] are concerned that they will be out of work.

“In this regard, I think it’s important to acknowledge and remind everyone that the BHB management has already included the Unions in discussions about the financial position of the BHB,” said the Minister.

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva said the “OBA needs to look within and begin asking people other than our seniors to sacrifice.”

In response to yesterday’s march, a  BHB spokesperson said, “BHB is aware there was a small march comprising of some staff from KEMH who were concerned about CCU. BHB was not officially informed of any march or protest.

“There are official notifications that have to take place in the event of planned action. This is how we work together to ensure a seamless service for our vulnerable populations. The majority of BHB staff did remain onsite and ensured that the service to our patients and residents was uninterrupted.

“We understand individuals may have concerns, and there are forums in which these can be raised. Since Monday, a meeting with CCU staff and the CEO and Permanent Secretary of Health has taken place.

“A message from the CEO and the speech by the Minister of Health & Seniors made on Tuesday 16 July has also been emailed out to all staff and posted to the website and intranet, where there are discussion boards for staff to raise questions.

“Additionally, a letter is being distributed to CCU residents and family members. BHB will continue to communicate with its staff, residents and families, and also work with the Ministry on the issue of long term care,” concluded the BHB spokesperson.

Update 12.11pm: Speaking in the House of Assembly this morning, Minister Gordon Pamplin said the Government is :not prepared to allow our seniors to continue to reside in an environment that needs major overhaul. The reality is that the building which houses the CCU is stated to be some 90 years old, and it is no longer fit for purpose.”

The Minister continued, “Planning for the future is the prudent and pragmatic approach, and in the course of such planning, the first thing that must be determined is how our seniors can be transitioned from a facility which is not appropriate, into better surroundings.

“I would like for the staff at the CCU to know that under no circumstances will they be just put out of a job. I am as concerned as they are to ensure that they are not displaced, and that any alternative plan will have both staff and patients included at the heart of the equation.”

Minister Gordon-Pamplin’s full statement follows below

Mr. Speaker,

I rise to inform this Honourable House of the industrial disquiet that has occurred, resulting in a march by some of the BHB Continuing Care staff yesterday.

Mr. Speaker, this action was apparently taken in response to my comments in the House of Assembly last Friday concerning future plans for the CCU.

I thought that my comments were clear, in that the situation concerning the CCU is not just a hospital matter, it is a community matter. I stated that meetings will be held with interested stakeholders to determine how capacity may be provided to ensure that our seniors are accommodated in a dignified, safe and appropriate environment.

Mr. Speaker, you will know that the new hospital acute care wing is in the process of construction and construction and design costs are $247M. You should also be made aware that in setting aside the funding for this new construction, there had been no provision made for the upgrading of the existing CCU. With the funding projections, there will not be any way to manage both the new acute care wing and to do a major overhaul of the existing CCU.

As such, this government is not prepared to allow our seniors to continue to reside in an environment that needs major overhaul. The reality is that the building which houses the CCU is stated to be some 90 years old, and it is no longer fit for purpose.

Planning for the future is the prudent and pragmatic approach, and in the course of such planning, the first thing that must be determined is how our seniors can be transitioned from a facility which is not appropriate, into better surroundings.

This plan is still in the very early exploratory stage. In fact, next week is the first joint meeting that will be held to examine feasibility.

I would like for the staff at the CCU to know that under no circumstances will they be just put out of a job. I am as concerned as they are to ensure that they are not displaced, and that any alternative plan will have both staff and patients included at the heart of the equation.

Careful planning requires that staff and patients have equal right to consideration. Any plan for our seniors must ensure that there is adequate staff to meet their needs.

As mentioned, the existing building has major challenges. Plumbing and electrical infrastructure are so beyond their useful lives that renovation is not an option.

No stone will be left unturned in ensuring a workable solution to this problem that includes accommodation, staffing and ancillary services to care for our patients.

Once the preliminary discussions have been completed, this Honourable House and the people of Bermuda will be fully apprised.

In addition, I wish to inform staff that any concern that they have may be discussed with me at any time. My door is always open, and staff can be assured that this government does not do retaliations or repercussions, hence, no one needs to feel timid about expressing himself. There is no need for fear of discussion. At the request of the Unions, I will have meetings with them at their earliest convenience in order to further explore the possibilities and to receive from them their input into finding the best way forward.

There are no secrets; there will be no withholding of information, as this situation affects all of us.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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Comments (12)

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  1. justsayin says:

    How can you plan to close an entire wing as the hospital but your plan doesn’t include a place for the patients to go?

  2. Mazumbo says:

    Chances are someone who is a FRIENDS and FAMILY is going to facilitate the seniors in their own privatized system and make a KILLING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Clive Spate says:

      Why don’t you submit a plan?

      • d.o. says:

        to easy to criticize rather than be positive with a decent solution.

  3. Deliverance says:

    There’s big money in Senior Care Facilities. Anybody who has a house they can’t rent cuz IB has gone, should consider. Only problem in Bermuda is getting Bdians to do the jobs and work the hours.

    • Clive Spate says:

      I know where there are quite a few empty places on South Road opposite The Swizzle!!

  4. JONO says:

    KEMH might already have a subtle plan….Gordon Ward…Now no longer an acute ward…Even the Clinical Director from CCU is in charge of Gordon

  5. god1st says:

    @ mazumbo

    That statement is true …… the oligarchy’s short term plan lol lol

    • Um Um Like says:

      Really? Where’s your proof? Oh wait, god doesn’t need proof.

      • d.o. says:

        if it’s OBA or anything other than plp then it’s anti God1st didn’t you know that?

  6. Done says:

    It’s amazing. Out of the many wonderful staff, those who are “not so nice” i.e nasty (to put it mildly) are the ones who do this sort of thing.

  7. pheewwww says:

    Convert CCU to a full Rehab Center. Expand Gordon Ward to include Curtis Ward for the CCU residents. 4th floor to be converted to step down or transition units