Photos: HMC Patients Hold Protest In Hamilton

May 31, 2022 | 4 Comments

[Updating] A protest is being held this morning [May 31] in Hamilton against what the group called “Bermuda Health Council’s discriminatory policy against HIP and FutureCare patients using Dr. Soares and HMC Burnaby Medical Center.”

In an online post, the Imaging Access for HIP and FutureCare patients at HMC Burnaby Urgent Care said, “Have your say! Join us on Tuesday, May 31st as we protest against Bermuda Health Council’s discriminatory policy against HIP and FutureCare patients using Dr. Soares and HMC Burnaby Medical Center. Meet at 8:15am outside of Bermuda Health Council offices [16 Wesley Street]. At 10:00am we will march to Cabinet grounds. All are welcome! Don’t let others make your healthcare decisions for you.

Yesterday, Minister of Health Kim Wilson said, “I am fully aware of the ongoing media and social media commentary regarding the Hamilton Medical Centre and Dr JJ Soares seeking Standard Health Benefit [SHB] approval. As the matter is currently under reconsideration, I am unable to provide substantive comments.

“More importantly, the review of health service providers’ SHB applications is for the Bermuda Health Council to undertake as the regulatory body, not the Ministry of Health. What I can say is this – SHB is not guaranteed for any medical business in Bermuda. It is deeply regretful that allegations of discrimination have entered the conversation when there a number of businesses that have been approved or denied SHB over the last few years.”

Some photos are below from this morning and we will have additional coverage later.

Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 (1)

Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 (2)

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Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 (10)

Update: Photos added below from the Cabinet Grounds

Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 2 (5)

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Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 2 (2)

Protest Bermuda May 31 2022 2 (1)

Update 5.59pm: A spokesperson said, “Today, 60 supporters of HMC-Burnaby Urgent Care & Medical Imaging marched outside the Bermuda Health Council’s office on Wesley Street and then onto Cabinet grounds to express their dissatisfaction at the Bermuda Health Council’s discriminatory policy toward HIP and FutureCare insureds in relation to using HMC-Burnaby Urgent Care & Medical Imaging.

“At about 11:30am the Premier and several Cabinet Ministers addressed the crowd. Dr Soares called on the Premier to “right this wrong” and stop the medical monopolies.

Dr Soares adds: “Today’s protest shows that Bermudians are frustrated and angry. HIP and FutureCare patients want to be able to use a safe, state-of-the-art facility on the island and it’s not fair that they could be potentially denied access to it in the future. We are not asking for anything new; we just want to be given the same license as other imaging facilities on the island. HIP and FutureCare patients can access imaging services at other facilities but many of those options have waiting lists and don’t offer a walk-in service.

“It is a shame that the Minister has chosen to bring race into this issue as that has never been one of our complaints. The fact that she has dismissed our concerns as racial perhaps underscores that she has misunderstood our concerns entirely.”

“As well as having advanced technology that minimizes exposure to radiation, HMC-Burnaby provides access to Bermuda’s only truly open MRI, which is covered under Standard Health Benefit.

HMC patient Samuel Johansen says: “I don’t understand why Dr Soares has not been granted Standard Health Benefit approval by the Bermuda Health Council for HIP and FutureCare patients like me. It’s not right. It’s very unjust that he’s being treated like this.”

“In November 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Bermuda Health Council must consider HMC’s 2020 application for Standard Health Benefit for imaging services [MRI, CT scan, x-ray, Mammography, etc] at the medical facility. HIP and FutureCare patients are already covered for GP services and bloodwork at the same practice. This year 2,009 people have signed an online petition on with an additional 1,520 people offline signatures supporting Dr Soares and urging the Bermuda Health Council to grant Standard Health Benefit to the practice for HIP and FutureCare patients.

“HMC Medical Director Dr Soares has had an application and numerous appeals denied by the Bermuda Health Council since March 2019 for the right to provide HIP and Future Care patients with imaging services at HMC-Burnaby Urgent Care & Medical Imaging, as is already the case for most imaging centres on the island. The practice submitted another formal application in June 2020, which has still not been reviewed.

Dr Soares concludes: “We look forward to our latest application being dealt with fairly and without bias by the Health Council and continuing to provide the kind of healthcare service that all Bermudians deserve.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. unknown800k says:

    JJ, you need to become a FOF, or a hypocrite.

  2. watching says:

    I just wonder if these same people protested on behalf of Dr Brown for what was essentially the same issue?

  3. partyrockin says:

    Just wondering if the PLP government will give Dr. Soares 1.2mil for damages incurred due to loss revenue, unfair practices, racism or whatever you wanna call it. What is fair and good for one…is surely good for all? If there is a reason why HMC or does not qualify then why not say so. The public, the patients and the Dr. are all asking for a fair an honest answer. We would like to hear something other than a stall tactic. For a government that “claims” to be leading the way to healthcare reform, better care, more choices and lower costs it certainly does not look good. My health insurance policy has gone up $300+ in the 3 years since they started implementing their cost saving measures.

    30-6. you got what you voted for.

  4. F Eddy says:

    HIP and Future Care patients have access to Hamilton Medical. They have the Standard Health Benefit as a result of the court ruling which is the coverage other medical services get. What Hamilton Medical wants is to be paid above the SHB to cover the cost of their state of the art equipment. The Bermuda Health Council is charged with keeping the cost of medical costs and insurance down. Okay, so he has state of the art equipment, that’s nice but he needs we seniors to pay for it. Do we need all the fancy equipment for this small island?Should the hospital have invested in better equipment and faster turnaround. . Soares saw an opportunity to make it easier for patients to get MRIs, accommodate people who have claustrophobia, and are too large for standard equipment. Good idea but how is it going to affect medical costs? We need to hear the other side’s point of view.

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