Minister: 2 Year Minimum To KEMH CCU Closure

July 16, 2013

[Updated w/PLP response] Although no formal timeframe has been set, the Ministry is looking at a minimum of two years down the road to complete any transition to closing the Continuing Care Unit [CCU] at KEMH, Minister of Health and Seniors Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said today.

“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,” said the Minister.

“It is important to note that before the CCU does close, the capacity of the private sector to accept CCU residents must first be assessed. As a result, any transition of both residents and staff will take quite a bit of time.”

Minister Gordon-Pamplin said that it’s not just seniors who reside at the CCU, as there are also young, disabled residents who will have to be accommodated.

“Proper and acceptable residential facilities will have to be found for both the seniors and the young disabled – and the planning for this will not take days, weeks or months but literally years,” continued the Minister.

“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.

“In addition, the vast majority of the CCU staff are Unionized, and their Union agreements set out the details of what has to be done if and when a service is discontinued. I know that the BHB management team are entirely familiar with the Collective Agreements and will abide by their provisions.”

Minister Gordon-Pamplin’s full statement follows below:

Good Afternoon,

I have called this press conference today to clarify the media reports that have been published regarding my statements in the House of Assembly last week on the Continuing Care Unit (CCU) at KEMH.

The reports give the impression that the CCU will be closing in the very near future, but this is NOT the case. Let me be clear on that matter, 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.

It is important to note that before the CCU does close, the capacity of the private sector to accept CCU residents must first be assessed. As a result, any transition of both residents and staff will take quite a bit of time.

What everyone should also keep in mind is that it’s not just seniors who reside at the CCU. There are also young, disabled residents who will have to be accommodated. Proper and acceptable residential facilities will have to be found for both the seniors and the young disabled – and the planning for this will not take days, weeks or months but literally years.

Although no formal timeframe has been set, we are looking at a minimum of two years down the road to complete any transition.

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.

In addition, the vast majority of the CCU staff are Unionized, and their Union agreements set out the details of what has to be done if and when a service is discontinued. I know that the BHB management team are entirely familiar with the Collective Agreements and will abide by their provisions.

As I conclude, let me say that there have been a lot of column inches used in the last two days about the Hospital.

While I and the Ministry are focused on the Hospital, we are also focused on the entire Bermuda Health System.

KEMH is Bermuda’s only acute care hospital, and the Board and the Hospital staff are focused on reviewing the core services provided by the Board and the Hospital.

Acute care is the number one service that the Hospital has to provide, but to make that service successful they have to partner with the rest of the Bermuda health system as well as overseas providers.

I am confident in the ability of the Board and the staff at the Hospital and I am certain that they have what it takes to weather this storm.

I will be there, beside them all the way. We have to be successful, not just for the staff at the Hospital, but for everyone in Bermuda.

Finally, I’d like to reiterate that the CCU residents and staff will not be left to fend for themselves. We will plan for their future and ensure that they are both prepared for that future and receive the assistance they need and deserve.

Thank you.

I will now take any questions that you might have.

-

Update 7.30pm: Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva said, “The Minister’s clarification on her remarks in the House of Assembly is small comfort for those who have seen the OBA break promises before.

“The island’s finances must be brought under control through shared sacrifice. Yet the OBA’s version of shared sacrifice continues to mean those least able to bear the burden are asked to carry the heaviest load.

“Meanwhile, individuals associated with the OBA continue to gobble up taxpayer funded consultancies, maximize their profits and sacrifice nothing. The OBA needs to look within and begin asking people other than our seniors to sacrifice,” continued Mr DeSilva.

“The PLP granted in-principle approval for plans to create a Private Sector Seniors Care Facility. We recognized that fiscal challenges and an aging population demanded a private-sector driven strategy for facilities and program development to address the current and future challenges facing our seniors.

“Unfortunately the OBA blocked this plan which could have potentially saved taxpayers millions of dollars and offered a more compassionate approach to the one they have selected.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Griephan says:

    Good luck in finding Nursing Homes and getting coverage from Financial Assistance

  2. JONO says:

    One might note that CCU has several empty beds at present…they stopped taking residents many months ago…so the process of closing CCU is already in effect

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    A good first but small step at privatization a service that can be done more efficiently through private enterprise though it will need a Government subsidy.

    Next get on with privatizing public transport & sanitation.

    Contrary to what Zane believes, a Government job is not supposed to be welfare.

  4. lifetime says:

    In other words the staff need to start looking for another job NOW! Its obvious that the staff will be made redundant! That’s an easy way of cutting costs! Especially not having to pay health insurance for the staff. Pay attention folks! Why on earth would she mention the unions?

  5. Observe says:

    OBA killing more jobs for the middle class in Bermuda every day. The only people their concerned about is the IBS.

  6. Hmmmmm says:

    A gold medal performance in the backstroke from Minister Pat. Interesting though, how has she explained this flip-flop to her rabid, blogging base who were celebrating this closure tomorrow? Proof that the blogs do not rule; the people calling and asking “well what do i do now?” actually got to her…..just after Mrs. Jackson said “WTF?! Pat!”.