Dame Marguerite enjoys annual trip to the Rand

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

GOVERNOR General Dame Marguerite Pindling made her annual Christmas visit to the Rand Memorial Hospital yesterday, where she met with patients and staff at the public healthcare institution in Grand Bahama.

This marks the 20th annual visit of a governor general to the Grand Bahama Health Services in Freeport, where a welcome ceremony was held on the hospital’s grounds.

This year only a few doctors and nurses attended the event, which is usually well attended by medical personnel staff.

Some 17 retirees were also recognised for their many years of service at the institution, and tributes were paid to those who recently died with a moment of silence and the release of yellow balloons.

Students of Grand Bahama Christian Academy performed and sang several songs. The Legendary Cooling Waters also performed.

Hospital administrator Sharon Williams welcomed Dame Marguerite to the hospital, which she says has experienced many achievements and challenges this year.

She noted that the staff is committed to the improvement of the health status of the community, and have each year consistently demonstrated advancement in service development that speaks to a continuous focus on planning and delivering quality care.

Ms Williams noted that while they have encountered some roadblocks, they are indeed grateful to have overcome the difficulties as the yuletide season approaches.

The hospital administrator thanked many civic, corporate and executive partners that have assisted the facility over the years.

She then recognised the contribution of the 17 retirees who have given long service to the hospital.

“Our 17 retirees… together have rendered collectively over 450 years of service to our community. We say thank you,” Ms Williams said.

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands reported that planning is in progress to expand an out patient specialty clinic by 2019 to include oncology, men’s health, and adolescent health services. He also noted that infrastructural development continues at the RMH.

As a result of physical redevelopment at the hospital, Dr Sands said that the Out Patients Department Services and General Practice Clinic were successfully relocated to the Freeport Community Clinic, housed in the IAT Building just opposite the hospital.

He noted that various health services are provided daily until 11pm at the Freeport clinic. He stated that the vacant areas resulting from the relocated out patients services would be redesigned to establish a private ward service within RMH.

Dr Sands also mentioned the implementation at RMH of the Picture Archive & Communication System (PACS) - a medical imaging technology that provides storage and access to images. The minister said the images can be uploaded in real time and have also been networked at the Eight Mile Rock Clinic and the Mammogram Unit in Davies House.

He noted that the images may also be viewed from RMH by the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau and other networked Public Hospitals Authority facilities.

The health minister also noted that a new CT scan machine is expected to be installed in January 2019.

“These new modern technological advancements will bode well for the overall management of our patients. This is indeed an exciting time for health care in the PHA and certainly in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” he said.

Dame Marguerite extended condolences to the hospital and to the families of those staff members who died this year. She also said she is pleased that the GBHS continues to be supported by a robust volunteer programme.

“Volunteerism is a concept which uplifts those who serve and those who receive, and this important programme must be encouraged and made good use of,” she said. “I thanked the volunteers for kindly giving of themselves to help others.”