Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] provided some further details on the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre temporary closure, explaining why the decision was made, with the island’s medical community in full preparation mode due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spokesperson said, “Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] has provided a further update on its announcement regarding the temporary closure of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre.
“BHB’s priority is to have enough nurses and doctors at KEMH to keep emergency services running at this time when we expect emergency and critical care services to come under unprecedented pressure. The pressure is all the greater given that some of our staff members, like some of the island population, are currently on quarantine depleting our limited numbers.
“Unfortunately, right now, we do not have enough staffing resources for the out-of-hours urgent care service in St David’s, which had averaged 3 to 5 people per day over the last ten days it was open. We remain open to other healthcare providers using the facility if critical needs have to be met, and we are liaising with the Ministry of Health.
“Our ability to open up again during the current state of emergency will be reliant on both the pressures in Emergency due to COVID-19, and the number of available staff. We would remind people that doctors’ offices are able to stay open during the shelter in place, and most are appropriately asking people to call if they need medical attention to encourage social distancing. Pharmacies are also open.
“Questions have been raised whether the UCC could be used to separate COVID-19 patients from the rest of the patient population. Symptomatic COVID-19 patients who need hospital care need to be close to critical care services in case differing forms of ventilation are needed.
“This is not available at the UCC, which was primarily established to care for urgent but minor complaints and does not therefore have an in-built critical care component. There are also risks for it staying open for ‘non COVID’ patients only, as there may be asymptomatic people with COVID-19 in the community, who can still infect others. This is why other clinics and doctors’ offices have moved to a ‘call first’ service for all patients, except the Emergency Department which is the only service that cannot close its doors due to the life-saving nature of its service.
“Finally, for people in the East worried about how to deal with a medical emergency, it is important to remember that the UCC itself has never provided an emergency service.
“People with emergency level illnesses and injuries, such a broken bones, head injuries, heart attacks and strokes, should always come immediately to KEMH where we have a much broader range of diagnostic services, surgery and admissions to hospital if inpatient care is needed. Going to the UCC in such instances can delay care when time is critical. People in the East End can also call 911 as there is an ambulance stationed at the Police Station in St David’s which can pick them up.
“We apologise for any inconvenience and hope people shelter safely in place as is currently required to stop the spread of COVID-19.”