Video: Minister Wilson & Minister Furbert

February 22, 2023

[Updated] Minister of Health Kim Wilson and Minister of Transport Wayne Furbert are holding a joint press conference this afternoon [Feb 22] to “discuss their Ministry’s budget initiatives.” You can watch the video below  and view all our coverage of the 2023 Budget here.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the replay is below

Update 2.45pm: Minister Wilson’s remarks:

Good afternoon.

Today, I am pleased to provide highlights of the 2023/2024 Budget Allocation for the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry comprises four departments: the Ministry of Health Headquarters, which includes the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health, the Health Insurance Department and the hospitals. The Ministry of Health’s vision is to ensure healthy people in healthy communities.

The budget of one hundred and ninety-nine million, two hundred and forty thousand, one hundred and six dollars [$199,240,106] for the 2023/2024 financial year includes one hundred and fifty-five million, one hundred and fifty-eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty-two dollars [$155,158,762] in funding for King Edward Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

This represents an overall increase of four million, seven hundred and forty thousand and ninety-five dollars [$4,740,095] or 2% compared with the Ministry’s original budget allocation for 2022/2023.

The Ministry of Health’s estimated revenue for 2023/2024 is fifty-five thousand dollars [$55,000]. This is a substantial decrease compared with 2022/23, and is due to the elimination of the travel authorisation in November last year.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] will receive one hundred and fifty-five million, one hundred and fifty-nine thousand dollars [$155,159,000], which is an increase of seven million, nine hundred thousand dollars [$7,900,000] for operations in 2023/24 compared with 2022/23. As noted by the Premier and Minister of Finance in the Budget Statement, the Government made a funding commitment of three hundred and twenty-two million dollars [$322,000,000] per year to BHB four years ago, and, unfortunately, did not reach this target. This financial commitment will help to ensure the hospital is placed on a more sound financial footing.

I’m pleased to highlight that in the coming year, seven hundred thousand dollars [$700,000] of capital funding is provided for the building permit, construction drawings and equipment purchase for the Mangrove Bay Clinic renovation.

This facility will provide high-quality healthcare services for the community in the island’s west end.

The preparation will be undertaken in 2023/24 so that construction can commence early in 2024/25 as the building permit is obtained and the contractor selected and confirmed through the official tendering process.

The services being provided will include:

  • Oral health services
  • Well-baby visits, including child immunization and healthy development checks
  • Physical therapy occupational therapy and speech-language pathology assessments and services
  • Sexual and Reproductive health services
  • Adult wellness clinics, and,
  • Integrated mental health services in partnership with MWI.

Another critical programme for the Ministry is our transformation to universal health coverage [UHC] which requires the strategic planning of upcoming projects and ongoing engagement with key stakeholders to ensure decisions and actions impacting UHC are patient-focused and timely.

For this, there is an allocation in the Ministry’s Headquarters budget in the amount of one million, four hundred and sixty-three thousand dollars [$1,463,000] to establish a programme management office [PMO] for delivery of UHC, and a further nine hundred thousand dollars [$900,000] for consultants.

The PMO will manage the coordination, implementation, execution and integration of all projects and associated workstreams in 2023/24, and beyond, to accelerate change towards UHC. The PMO will also support the transitional governance structure whose purpose is to facilitate the engagement of the many, and wide-ranging, health system participants through stakeholder working groups and forums.

Also in the coming year, one hundred thousand dollars [$100,000] of funding will be provided for the Barbara Ball Public Health Scholarship, which is awarded to Bermudian students with proven financial need seeking careers or professional development in public health.

It is offered in honour of Dr. Barbara Bertha Ball, the first born-Bermudian woman to practice medicine in Bermuda and a tireless champion for people’s rights. This scholarship covers a range of healthcare fields of study that directly benefit public health and are a priority to public health needs in Bermuda.

The scholarship was last awarded in 2020 and was interrupted due to the demands of the pandemic.

During the next fiscal year, funding has also been made available for the Department of Health and several collaborating primary care physicians to demonstrate that the HEARTS protocol can get improved results locally, and to harvest the learning before the protocol is rolled out and available to the entire health system.

HEARTS in the Americas is the Pan American Health Organization’s flagship initiative for improving high blood pressure control and heart disease risk management in doctors’ offices using a standardised treatment protocol.

HEARTS has been implemented in 24 countries in the Americas and is a simple, practical, and easy-to-follow treatment protocol that can vastly improve the control of high blood pressure. This programme is part of an allocation of five hundred and thirty-four thousand dollars [$534,000] for health promotion and wellness.

Finally, I am pleased that the Government will extend customs duty exemption for investments in plant and equipment to the personal fitness sector. Regular physical activity can help prevent various health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. This duty relief will help our fitness facilities upgrade their equipment, which will benefit all of us trying our best to keep fit, active and healthy.

The Governments 2023/24 Budget provides a path to continued economic growth, and supports the Ministry of Health’s commitment to ensuring healthy people in healthy communities.

Thank you.

Update 3.45pm: Minister Furbert’s remarks:

Good afternoon:

I am pleased today to provide highlights of the Ministry of Transport’s 2023/2024 Budget Allocation and highlights for the fiscal year.

The Ministry of Transport’s 2023-2024 fiscal year budget is seventy-two million, three hundred and fifty-two thousand dollars [$72,352,000]. This is an increase of three hundred and fifteen thousand dollars [$315,000] from the 2022-2023 prior year budget.

The departments within The Ministry of Transport are:

  • Ministry Headquarters
  • Department of Marine and Ports,
  • Transportation Control Department and
  • Department of Public Transportation

The Ministry of Transport’s estimated revenue for 2023/24 is thirty-nine million, four hundred thousand dollars [$39,400,000], the bulk of which will be accounted for by the Transport Control Department’s fees.

The Ministry Headquarters leads and manages the policy and strategic plans for the island’s transport infrastructure and systems. The Ministry works closely with its departments, quangos and external partners to ensure there is a collaborative effort in policy development.

In recent months, the Ministry has worked jointly with the Bermuda Airport Authority, Bermuda Tourism Authority and Skyport in an effort to increase air service to Bermuda.

Air Service Development is a high priority for the Ministry; thus 2023/2024, the teams will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders to increase air traffic to Bermuda.

The Ministry has built strong relationships with various cruise line partners. In 2023, the island can expect a historic increase in cruise arrivals, which will positively impact tax revenue and generate more visitor traffic to businesses at each port. We are approximately 220 cruise ship calls in 2023 compared to 164 for 2022, an increase of approx. 35%. The anticipated number of passengers for 2023 is approximately 622,000, compared to 402,657 in 2022, an increase of 54%. This record cruise season will provide more funds to Government consolidated fund and to the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s budget to execute the National Tourism Plan.

The Department of Marine and Ports is responsible for regulating and safely operating Bermuda’s maritime affairs, including marine border security, search and rescue, and public transportation.

The recently announced new and extended schedule for the Pink Ferry Route signifies the dedication of the Department to ensure the community receives the necessary transportation at the right place and at the right time.

The funding allocated in 2023/24 for the new schedule will continue to provide passengers with increased travel flexibility during the week and weekends.

With the increase in cruise calls this year, the Department will require increased services and staffing. The Department and the Ministry are prepared to meet the demand and provide ferry service for visitors and residents.

With the critical mission “To Assure the Safety of All Road Users”, the Transport Control Department [also known as TCD] will continue overseeing the operation of all motor vehicles and road users on Bermuda’s roads. The Department will play a vital role in the development of the zero-emissions vehicle policy and the Project Ride initiative, which will better prepare our young people for safe road travel.

One of TCD’s remits is oversight at locations where large visitor groups gather for transportation. With the increase in cruise passengers, TCD traffic control officers will coordinate and manage traffic in these high-passenger volume locations across the island.

The Department of Public Transportation [DPT] is an evolving department that has strongly led Bermuda’s zero emissions strategy. DPT launched its electric bus programme in 2022 by successfully incorporating 30 buses into its fleet.

These buses are operational and have received positive feedback from passengers and residents.

DPT will continue the program in 2023 by purchasing an additional 40 electric buses due to arrive in the summer of 2023. The electric buses provide many benefits to the public, including but not limited to environmental friendliness, healthier air quality for residents, reduced noise pollution and reduced fuel cost to the Government.

During the 2023-2024 fiscal year, the Ministry will also be focused on key initiatives such as:

  • Upgrading infrastructure at the Hamilton ferry terminal and refits to our fast ferries,
  • Building new charging stations infrastructure to support recharging of buses,
  • And modernization of the public service vehicle sector

During this fiscal year, the Ministry of Transport’s prevailing mandate is to strengthen Bermuda’s transportation systems to meet the current and future transportation services and products which reflects the Government dedication to “Our Path to Continued Economic Growth”.

Finally, I would like to thank the Ministry of Transport’s committed and hard working team and all of our partners who work in collaboration with the Ministry to ensure we achieve the desired accomplishments for our country, Bermuda.

Thank you.

click here Bermuda generic 2023 Budget

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