The residents of St. Joseph now have an expanded and upgraded outpatient clinic to help meet their medical needs.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, said that the work which was done on the Horse Hill medical facility was long overdue, as he noted that the conditions at the clinic over the last few years have required a high degree of tolerance on the part of the residents and strong commitment to duty by staff.
His comments came during the official reopening ceremony of the facility yesterday morning, as he explained that while repairs were periodically done on the clinic, they were forced to close it in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the closure, he said the Ministry of Health and Wellness believed it was prudent to refurbish and retrofit the clinic, as well as to expand the facility to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. With the clinic now reopened, he indicated, they can again offer healthcare services such as general practice, pharmacy, domiciliary care, antenatal, family planning, and child health services as well as podiatry and mental health.
Minister Bostic said, “The Ministry of Health and Wellness recognised that there were several challenges which needed to be addressed. These included lack of accommodation for triage of all persons prior to entry of the building; the inability to separate persons who present with COVID-19 symptoms from others attending the outpatient clinic; inadequate space in the waiting room to accommodate seating of patients without COVID-19 symptoms while adhering to the COVID-19 requirements for physical distancing; lack of waiting space for persons who have been assessed as having COVID-19 symptoms, or for those unable to enter the clinic at the time owing to space constraints. And finally, lack of office space to provide medical management for patients with symptoms of COVID-19.
“I am therefore pleased that the staff and clients of the St. Joseph Outpatients Clinic can give and receive service in a more comfortable environment, having addressed these challenges,” Bostic said.
He made the point while noting that his ministry is committed to the delivery of quality and affordable healthcare services to Barbadians. He said that this is a task that requires input from the public and private sectors, if we are to win the battle against the burden of diseases in this island and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adding to his comments, Member of Parliament for St. Joseph, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall expressed gratitude to the Minister of Health and his team for carrying out the work, as he said the upgraded and expanded facility will be a tremendous benefit to his constituents. He revealed that while the clinic was closed, residents had to make the journey to the polyclinic in St. John for treatment, which though not that far away, required two buses to get there and back.
“…For the first time in many years, my constituents now have, at the top of Horse Hill, a medical facility of which they can be proud of. What is here as you can tell is a much bigger facility, I think we’ve almost doubled in size. A much bigger facility, landscape that I know will be luxurious and a wonderful gazebo for those people who have to get here early before the clinic opens. They no longer have to bear the sun and the rain, they can sit in a comfort. I think this is going to be a model for all the other polyclinics,” he stated.
Marshall stated also that those visiting the facility will also have access to the internet, as Digicel has committed to providing a hotspot for the clinic.