BHB CEO: Hospital Beds Are ‘Completely Full’

March 23, 2017

[Updated] “Every single bed in our Emergency Department and in our new Acute Care Wing is completely full,” Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] CEO Venetta Symonds said today, adding that, “I will go as far as to say that operationally, internally to BHB it is a crisis.”

Ms. Symonds said, “There are no patient beds right now at the hospital. And what does that mean? It means if you need acute care of course, you’re going to come to BHB, but right now, every single bed in our Emergency Department and in our new Acute Care Wing is completely full.

“How does this impact you? Well, first of all, if you’re an outpatient and you’re looking to have a surgical procedure in the next week or so, you might get a call saying that your surgical procedure has been postponed.”

Update 6.17pm [the remaining transcription]:
Ms Symonds said, “”You need to know you have options. You can talk to your doctor as well, as talk to your insurer to find out what your options are for your elective surgeries, because we will take care of acutely ill patients first.

”How else can you help? When BHB sets a discharge time for your loved ones, please be here to pick them up on time. That is really helpful. If you are a partner in the community and you run a home for individuals who need residential care, please know that when we discharge, it might not be during normal work hours as it normally is before five o’clock. It might be outside of those hours, because every single bed matters right now.

“We all need to work together to make sure that our hospital can accommodate you. We have been experiencing increases in capacity within the last couple of months. Yes, there are a lot of respiratory illnesses right now, but there are a multitude of factors that are making it difficult for BHB to empty beds.

“Please be assured that we are working with the Minister of Health and other stakeholders to manage the medium and long term needs for Bermuda, but right now in this immediate situation, I will go as far as to say that operationally, internally to BHB it is a crisis. And in order for us to deliver for us to deliver the very best of care for you and your loved ones when you’re acutely ill, we will most definitely need your support.

“Go to your doctor, your general practitioner first, or use our urgent care center. Use those things that are immediately available to you. Remember, when we’re discharging, come and pick up your loved ones. If you do have delayed care, call your doctor and call your insurer to find out what your options are.

“Thank you for your patience during this time and trust that we are managing the situation the best way we can. Thank you to our staff who continue to deliver. working overtime, working additional hours to make sure that all of us on the island are provided consistent, high quality care. Thank you.”

Update 8.04pm: Minister Jeanne Atherden said, “As Minister of Health & Seniors, I’m aware that currently there are not enough beds available at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. I implore you to follow the advice of BHB’s CEO Venetta Symonds.

“If you have a non-emergency illness, please see a general practitioner or visit the Urgent Care Center, rather than going to the emergency room. If you’re collecting a loved one who has been discharged, please be on time.

“If you’re an administrator of a rest home, I ask that you work with KEMH to discharge patients back to the residence, even after hours, so the hospital beds can be available for patients that need acute care. The hospital is not a rest home.

“My Ministry is working on solutions to long-term care, because in this crisis, clearly there are not enough beds in the community for long-term care patients. This was one of our Throne Speech initiatives.

“I ask that we show our true Bermudian spirit in this crisis, and come together with fortitude, patience, and generosity, and make adjustments under the circumstances.

“Our team is looking at possibilities right now, and we ask for your continued understanding as we work through this situation. BHB’s team is doing all that it can to take care of everyone safely. Please do your part to help.”

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  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Pathetic…fire the lot of them from the minister right on on down to management as well. This woman looks like she was forced in front of the camera. The nurses and doctors don’t deserve this crap and neither does joe public! The hospital turning into an elderly care home. WTF!!!!!!!! Families giving up on their parents and grandparents!? Should be ashamed of themselves!!!!!!!

    • Terry says:

      If the truth is really killin you speak up.

      Your a moron.

      • VJ says:

        @ Terry. If you’re going to insult someone’s intelligence, at least use proper grammar.

        You’re a moron, not your a moron.

      • Truth is killin' me... says:

        Terry…you don’t even live here anymore…lucky you! STFU!!

    • James Rego says:

      @ Truth is killing me: The hospital turning into an elderly care home. WTF!!!!!!!! Families giving up on their parents and grandparents!?

      It’s called Granny Dumping!

      I was in the hospital recently and they had trouble finding me a bed. I heard concerns from several staff regarding Granny Dump! And they are sick of it.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Not sure how you can blame the administration or the Ministry for ‘Granny Dumping’. This is a social problem within the community, and not with how things are administered. Blame the people that are deliberately leaving their elderly family in the hospital.

      • Portia says:

        The truth is, there are insufficient beds in the nursing homes too, costs are too high for many families, and there are very few options for the elderly who suffer from dementia/ Alzheimer’s who need continuous 24-hour care. So yes, this IS something that we should blame the Ministry and the administration for. There are cases of granny-dumping by cruel family members who simply don’t care, but there is a lot more going on in this situation.

      • James Rego says:

        @ Build a Better Bermuda, at no point am I blaming the BHB or administration, in fact I sympathize with the hospital administration who have to deal these with unscrupulous relatives.

        I was told by staff some individuals decide to go on vacation, knowing that if they leave their elderly at KEMH they will be taken care of, as I understand it, once admitted, the hospital becomes responsible for them and cannot simply evict them, living conditions at KEMH is often better than where they live normally, they get proper meals and medical care if needed, the wards, staff and rooms are very nice, so is there any wonder why some don’t want to return to where they were previously? And we, the tax payer will be saddled with the bill these unscrupulous Granny Dumpers leave us with!

  2. Well says:

    I would say so it is in a crisis. The building was poorly designed as there is much wasted space. Furthermore I understand the privacy aspect of each patient but really did the rooms have to be that enormous?

  3. Logic says:

    That’s what happens when you build a ridiculously inefficient building.
    Didn’t need to be that way at all….

  4. You can thank the bunch of idiot’s who chose to go with the design to have one person per room.

    The old hospital design was the type of design we should have gone with in the new hospital, have public rooms of four beds, semi private’s with two beds and then some one bed private room’s.

    And all the wasted space in-between floors is a big joke, and then I guess the same joker’s did not think of the privacy of those who have to have outpatient surgery, because you can look down from any floor and see who is coming and going to have surgery.

    Over all the new hospital is a big joke and a waste of money, that could have given a better facility, and you can not blame it on the staff, but the joker’s who approved of the drawings, and went with it.

    • Elka says:


    • aceboy says:

      The new wing that cost an absolute fortune has a HUGE reception area and it is a badly designed waste of space. Generators occupy rooms inside the building.

  5. Y-Gurl says:

    This is ridicules and embarrassing, a gizzillion dollars paid out for the “future proof” hospital that can’t even forecast a few years ahead! And we are paying the Canadians for the next 30 years for this nonesense???

    • Zevon says:

      Er, no. This time the adults are doing it, Last time it was Zane.

    • James Rego says:

      Thank Zane and his party. They signed off on this design!

      • James Rego says:

        I must be hitting close to the mark, so I thank you for the above average amount of dislikes.

  6. sage says:

    This must give the AC folks great confidence in our ability to handle any emergency, they probably have a hospital ship on its way.

    • Result says:

      We still have the old hospital. if tbe demand is there dor both, you adapt.

      i perso ally do not see tgis as a problem but rather as an opportunity. There are some very smart people with PHDs and Masters Degrees and more f’n initials after tgeir names than tge alphabet has letters
      . MBA, PHD, BSC, JP NBA NHL NFL …everyone has a degree or multiple degrees and demands big bucks for their knowledge and experience. Its time to step up and deliver BHB staff.

      • sage says:

        The fact that the hospital is too small already, just prior to the island being inundated with thousands of people for the AC, doesn’t say much for “smart people with PHDs and Masters Degrees” seems like we have educated idiots with no vision.

  7. Are you kidding me? says:

    I was in the emergency room yesterday. Boy it was madness in there I couldn’t believe those nurses they had no clue where to turn ?…no thank you I will keep my job,and you would think that we had a hospital that was built two years ago ,really not functional at all ,who came up with those plans?…

    • Zevon says:


    • James Rego says:

      Who came up with those plans? Zane!

    • Seascape says:

      We can thank Brown and the PLP for this mess. What were they thinking. We didn’t have this issue before. The insurance companies will not let us do elective surgeries or treatments overseas even though they can sometimes be cheaper. We have to put up with high insurance rates and now this. RIDICULOUS!!

      • sage says:

        True, but where was the opposition at that time? Where were their die-hard loyalists when this fiasco was conceived of, proposed, then built? I don’t recall protests or any push back at the time and I wonder why this wasn’t included in the COI investigation.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          duuh , like everything else back then it was
          a)plantation questions
          b) none of your business
          c) ‘the opposition has its say and the government gets its way’

          Refer to this every time from now on that you ask what the opposition was doing between 1998 and 2012

          Thank you

  8. Paid Blogger says:

    Well blame Doc B for this!!! He knew full well what he had in mind for this KEMH extension and now we as tax payers will have to suffer and pay for this White Elephant that was built under his watch.

  9. sml says:

    Oh boy, sure is full and tons of wasted space. The overflow from the new hospital of patients are over on the 3rd floor of the old hospital. Curtis and Gordon Wards. omg, what deplorable conditions. Pathetic to say the least. It is unbelievable the size of each room in the new hospital. You could have gotten 2 rooms in the one room. 2 sinks in a room. one in the bathroom and one in the actual room! why? I think they need to start on each floor and start renovating each ward and cut those rooms in half and it will still be plenty of room for each person to have their own room. No hospital should be out of beds. No patient should have to be turned away. Start renovating the old hospital to produce more rooms and fix the broken down rooms and bathrooms that these poor patients have to share on Curtis ward. My heart breaks when I have to visit my parent over in the old hospital because of the overflow at the new hospital. Sad really.

  10. Second says:

    What can we expect from our new hospital when the AC attendees are here if they cannot handle the capacity now??
    What a fiasco!!

  11. Hair says:

    Are you kidding me? Browne and the Canadian company came up with this plan and he got a throw back!! Go figure..This new hospital needs to be looked into, just saying..

  12. Mb says:

    Outrageous….I thought the idea of spending all the millions was a hospital to meet the needs of Bermuda for the future. Didnt anyone in govt research what this would require in terms of beds? We all knew we had an aging pop ..apptl except bhb.
    U r telling me all our charitable and tax dollars given and we gonna have our surgeries resked some of which may be life and death??Why did we build this hospital then? Let’s all just go overseas. Can we add this to the list commission investigates? This is a Crisis bhb is correct about that.

    • Patricia says:

      That’s just it. Hospital was built on American standards. When this country going to realize we are BERMUDA and not like any other country. Persons in power at the time thought we could run along same lines as other places. In and out in a day or two. Bermudians are not like that. You are NOT going to push me out if I don’t want to go or I do not feel ready to go. I pay too much in insurance for you to tell me otherwise.

      Design is a total waste of space. a 90 bed hospital please. Who came up with that number. They should have known back then we were going to have an aging issue.

      • Trinity says:

        The whole ‘you ain’t gonna kick me out because I pay insurance’ argument is BS. Sorry, but YES we are. I don’t care if you feel ready – if you’re medically fit for discharge, there is absolutely no need for you to be taking up an acute bed. I know it’s pretty, but don’t be fooled. It is not a hotel; you cannot request late check-out.

        What we need to do now is focus our efforts in developing the subacute and community facilities so there’s somewhere for patients with complex needs to step down to when necessary. Subsidise development of nursing homes – expand community/ in-home healthcare. 90 beds should be enough.

  13. Keen Observer says:

    From the start I knew 90 beds was to small for a jurisdiction our size. Other cities overseas with a population of 60,000 to 70,000 build them much bigger to date. Yes , people from other towns use those city’s hospitals but our wildcard is sick and injured coming from sources that numerous other equal-sized Municipalities do not have to be concerned with, namely: 1) A Tourism Industry 2) planes diverting here 3) ships diverting here to be added with the regular problems – epidemics of sickness and the elderly situation that has been going on. Our small hospital makes me laugh. Now I have to be concerned if I can get admitted when I really need it with my health problems! Or maybe I’ll have to wait HOURS to be treated and get further Stressed like before at the old Hospital. BHB and Gov’t have been caught with their pants down. We will see how THEY intend to fix this Awful situation.
    2017 will prove to be a Bitter-Sweet year for BDA with AC360- PTB Bus shortages, still the lack of Hotel beds and now the Hospital a Mess? BIG crowds coming! LOL! Extremely Poor Decision Making and Planning, at it’s best!

  14. truth hurts! says:

    And now we’re about to do the same thing at the Airport…have you seen that monstrosity’s plans..smt

    • Patricia says:

      Exactly!!! A huge bldg we do not need for this island. We may need a new facility but surely not that large. Not necessary. Again, going to be wasted space.

  15. james says:

    Hospital is being used for “long term care”. That’s one problem. Another is poor management. All the money in the world won’t solve that problem.

  16. Aaron says:

    One word… PLP

  17. Rock Watcher says:

    You would think 90 ACUTE beds would be enough but when you have multiple beds ftaken up everyday by people who could go home but families refuse or delay discharge then of course there will be a problem. If you are told come get your mum at 11 but don’t show up till 5 then the acutely ill patient in ER has had to wait there all day instead of being in an ACUTE bed which means the people in the waiting room in ER can’t be seen as no bed in ER. Causing complaints of long wait times ….see how it’s all connected
    Everyone has to do their part it’s not a hotel or a rest home!!!

  18. Hope says:

    There is some “granny dumping” of course, but imagine this, you are in your 60s, you are still working but facing up to the fact that your company may let you go at 65, you have children (maybe still living in the same household), you have grandchildren, you still have a mortgage, maybe you were a single parent all of those years. You’ve worked hard, really hard. And now your parent is too unwell to look after themselves. But you have to work, you have your mortgage, and the nursing homes are too expensive or do not have space. You are sitting between a rock and a hard place. What can you do?

    • Rock Watcher says:

      It’s an issue having dealt with 2 elderly parents work kids and life in general…..we have to plan when we are young and healthy realise we are all going to get older we have to plan and realise the hospital can not take on our resposabilities and Government can only do so much. It’s a problem that’s not going away

  19. Hello says:

    You ask who approved those plans….PLP …Dr. Brown and his Gov’t. So now what are we going to do? Please don’t blame this one on the OBA….we all know better. I was in for surgery recently and had to be put in the Maternaty Ward for three days. Why did we go from 183 beds in the old hospital to only 90 in the new??

    • Rock Watcher says:

      There were only 120 acute care beds in old hospital But there were overflow problems then as well

  20. Joe Bloggs says:

    Maybe if we had not sold our hospital to a bunch of foreigners … oh, wait, that is the airport. Ignore this.

  21. School of Hard knocks. says:

    Our grandiosso hospital with its fancy façade that was going to “meet the needs of the future”. How the hell is that possible with 90 beds? We saw this coming when the plan was unveiled. What a dumb bunch of clueless designers, dumber still was the government of the day that signed off on this.
    We have an aging population and this is nothing new. How come we have all these so called experts and designers, yet the oblivious is ignored? At the end of the day we have 90 beds and a lot of wasted space. What a dumb bunch we are. AC people must be thinking, “this is a joke right?”
    Now we got the airport on the horizon, what will that bring us in the future? It seems to me that every capital project that takes place on this rock IS ALWAYS SHROUDED IN CONTROVERSY or not correctly planned or forcasted.

  22. Double S says:

    This is your new $900mn hospital wing people…

    Where were the protests and opposition to this PPP back in the day?


  23. just wondering says:

    went to visit a friend in one of the wards – his room was bigger than my bedroom at home – its huge!! Why would you have such a massive room for one person who is going to spend most of their time in hospital in bed????

  24. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    F****** UNACCEPTABLE!!

  25. Concerned nurse says:

    This needs remanaging from the top down. As a Bermudian working in the state as Ann RN, bed management and discharge planning is something that we deal with everyday. Bring in a care coordination/discharge planning team, create discharge goals for staff, and look into plans to optimize the space present. This is not just a “hospital problem” either. Old people dumping is common all over the world. Often times in the states you can have patients ready for discharge staying on the unit for MONTHS on end because a skilled nursing facility will not accept them, and there health needs are such that there family cannot look after them.There needs to be options for home health care, and more Resources for our senior citizen population.

    • Clarisa S says:

      Unfortunately, we are having to manage in Bermuda. The hospital does have a team of Medical Social Workers, Doctors, Nurses and a Bed Manager who are all involved in Discharge Planning. However, with the Ageing Population, the nature of Chronic illnesses such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Renal Disease. These patients cannot be discharged until they are fit, in alot of instances this could take weeks, not days, and patients that are discharged are sometimes readmitted within days,for a variety of reasons. There should not be blame, we as a community need to come up with solutions to manage this moving forward. I have faith in our Health System and the problems we face are happening all over the world.

  26. Sara says:

    Each and every last one of you that were in involved in the building of this hospital should be ashamed of yourselves!!! SO MUCH WASTED SPACE! Another blunder of the PLP legacy!!! 2 billion in debt and no extra hospital beds!!! Bunch of ding dongs!

  27. Brier says:

    Again we have to blame the previous government wasting the peoples money and so we continue to suffer. They should have built two hospitals for the costs and size of the building.
    1. one for medical and 2 beds to a room the other
    2. for the dumping of grandparents.. (sad)

    We have to be thankful and appreciate that we have a good team of Doctors and Nurses if not where would we be???

    Sad day for Bermuda..

  28. orange says:

    Correction!!!!! This only goes out to the same day admitting patients NOT outpatients.

  29. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    THANK THE PLP/UBP for the $900 million of wasted space LMFAO! Clueless…

    Oh but look how beautiful that bright, shiny white atrium is that could probably fit another 50 beds on three floors smdh!

  30. Triangle Drifter says:

    How much is the cost of a hospital bed vs a seniors home. The seniors home is far less I’ll wager. Even if the Government subsidised seniors homes it would be less burden on the taxpayer.

    The big question is how do you deal with the people who dump the elderly? Court ordered payments after an assessment on the ability to pay? Seize assets of the eldery & use them to finance care? That would get the attention of children waiting for mom & pop to die. Ban travel to those who refuse to help support their parents?

    Reverse mortgages on real estate?

    The whole thing is so complex. Coming up with a fair resolution is near impossible.

  31. Real Deal says:

    Well start to use the beds up west-gate too, because your sending everyone up there away. times are hard

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Keeping a prisoner in better health costs more than a senior in a seniors home. Something is very wrong here. Who deserves the care?

  32. LoL says:

    Lol bda is hilarious! Maybe if the building was built without the big Sky Light in the middle it would have more beds! Hospital is falling apart already!

  33. Spear chuckah says:

    Most hospitals havevassisted living care facilities associated to them…we need a ppose insurance payment plan…not unlike social security to ensure integrty it must be re insured locally.