Government has announced the construction of a new Geriatric Hospital to replace the existing plant at Beckles Road, St. Michael, which was built in the 19th Century.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, in making the announcement during a tour of the Sagicor Estates at St. George multi-million dollar project yesterday, said the multi-purpose hospital will be located at Waterford, within the environs of the National Botanical Gardens.
She told the gathering, which included Cabinet Ministers and bankers, that the present plant had presented some difficulties to nursing staff, having to navigate the movement of the acute patients, among the more than 200 patient population at the hospital.
Given this situation, the Prime Minister emphasised the need for a purpose-built facility that addressed the acute needs of the elderly who “do not have the support system or the finances in order to support themselves”.
“Regrettably, too many of our families are abandoning elderly persons at the hospital, as if the hospital was a facility for accommodating on a long-term basis who may not meet the need for the services of an acute primary care hospital. The cost of us keeping them in a bed there is $25,000 a month. It is unsustainable,” Ms. Mottley pointed out.
The Prime Minister shared: “Equally, the cost of the provision of care in the context of the Geriatric Hospital, as it currently stands, is on or about $5,500, but we have a plant that was built in the 1900’s, if not before…. Those who sit on the Government’s Emergency Management team will tell you that with every serious flood or hurricane that threatens this nation, the first question is “Do we have to move the patients of the Geriatric Hospital?”
Ms. Mottley also touched on the expansion of the island’s current elderly care programme where Government subsidised those patients to the tune of $ 2,700 a month, which represents “half of what it costs in the institutional framework of the Geriatric Hospital and one-tenth of what it costs for those persons to remain in the QEH”.
She added: “This country must come to grips with the fact that we will be defined by how we take care of those who help to build this nation. It is therefore critical, for the Government to have a multi-disciplinary approach to the provision of services for elderly persons in this country.”
The Prime Minister gave the assurance that Government would continue to provide for those who are acutely ill. For those patients requiring accommodation and intensive care, the Geriatric Hospital, in a revised and renovated framework, would be there to cater to those needs.
Ms. Mottley stressed that those in the private sector business of providing alternative care of the elderly, through a joint private sector approach for the provision of these services, will be the way forward.
“I want to say to those who want to do like what Sagicor has done and what we have done at the Senior Citizens Village at Vauxhall, or what the Soroptimists have done in Eden Lodge, we will be prepared to put similar packages and concessions together because there has to be a private/public approach to being able to resolve these matters,” the Prime Minister underlined.