Minister of Health, John Boyce, (second left) chatting with architect Michael Lashley (right), while Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Tennyson Springer (left), and other officials listen intently. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the St. John Polyclinic should be set to open its doors to the public come June, this year.

So says Minister of Health, John Boyce, who toured the 27,000 square-foot multi-purpose facility yesterday with officials from the Ministry of Health. Mr. Boyce said he was happy with the progress so far and was pleased with the co-ordination between architects Michael Lashley Architects Limited, Ministry officials and a team of public health nurses, who were also on the tour.

"[It is looking like] the end of June, so long as circumstances remain because things can happen which may change the [opening] date. The idea is to finish it properly. [While] I can’t speak to the budget at this time, we are comfortable with the timeframe," he said.

The Health Minister explained that the Ministry was busy dealing with the issue of staffing for the facility and developing a timetable to determine how the different departments and facilities would be opened and made available to the public.

"There are tremendous opportunities here and I look forward to the official opening and, of course, the public use of this facility. Bearing in mind that health care is the primary focus but we are happy as a Government to be able to offer the other social services that this particular facility will make available…

"The facility will cater to quite a lot of needs not only the medical and clinical needs but there will be public facilities; a library [and] an area for the constituency councils… There will be an amphitheatre and I think this is going to redound to the entire development of this St. John area," the Health Minister stated.

Architect, Michael Lashley, said the facility would have the ability to store approximately 10, 000 gallons of potable water under the building when completed. This was to ensure that it could stand on its own for at least a week in the event of a disaster. In addition, he said a number of measures were already put in place to prevent and reduce the spread of bacteria when it opened to the public. These include special wall and floor finishes as well as separate exhaust fans in areas susceptible to bacterial growth such as the podiatry and catheter replacement sections.

The "state-of-the-art facility" will provide a wide range of primary health care services, including mental health, physiotherapy, family planning, an asthma bay, an x-ray/ultrasound department, pharmacy services, post and ante-natal care, and as part of the plan to decentralise health care, an ambulance bay for a vehicle which will be stationed at the facility. ??It will embrace the latest in technology and will eventually boast an electronic patient records system. When completed, the facility will be named after late Prime Minister and former Member of Parliament for St. John, David Thompson.


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