Public Hospitals Authority unveils strategic plan at ‘Meet the Press’ session

PHA Chairman Andrew Edwards

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Strategic Plan of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) is aimed at bringing about better quality healthcare services to the public.

Andrew Edwards, chairman of the Board of Directors, revealed elements of the plan during a recent ‘Meet the Press’ session on the State of the PHA.

Mr. Edwards shared that the strategic plan, which encompasses wide-sweeping changes, is being developed in collaboration with KPMG Bahamas, under the theme: ‘Reimagine the PHA.’  A rollout of the plan for members of the press was held on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at the PHA Corporate Office.

“The PHA has undertaken a process of comprehensive review as we seek to formulate a strategic plan that maps the way forward for our organization and its mandate to provide quality care,” Mr. Edwards said.  The plan includes the three health care facilities under the PHA’s ambit: Princess Margaret Hospital and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in New Providence, and the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama.  The objective is to develop enhanced facilities that can provide better services.

He noted that the Public Hospitals Authority has been plagued with aged facilities, lack of personnel to meet the growing demands of the Bahamian public, and unexpected adverse circumstances that have delayed its progress, deterred its focus, and impacted its quality of service.

“As we all know, the global pandemic only further exposed our pre- existing challenges, limitations, and shortcomings,” he said.

Added Mr. Edwards, “Yet, despite all of this, we cannot ‘stop’ to make the necessary changes.  Rather, we must refresh, renew, and reimagine the PHA while still operating, still making the best of the resources available, and saving lives.”

Among the initiatives is the Urgent and Emergency Care Project, to address overcrowding of the Emergency Room at the Princess Margaret Hospital. This project is a collaboration between the PHA and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The project comprises three phases, Mr. Edwards said.  The first phase inclusive of the enabling works is complete.  The PHA will enter into a contract over the next few weeks for the finish of Phase 2.  With an overall budget estimated at $20 million dollars, finalization is estimated within the next 24 months.

With respect to emergency care and address of space and resource challenges — Mr. Edwards said he was pleased to note that the PHA has procured a number of modular units that will expand the capacity to treat patients at both the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Rand Memorial Hospital.  Enabling works for the units are underway at both hospitals.

He stated, however, that as the PHA improves its infrastructure and expands available supplies and equipment, it must simultaneously address the continuing human resource shortages within the public health system.

“To that end, we have commenced the PHA Academy to ensure that all employees receive the requisite training and that we develop in-house and nationally the expertise and skill sets which are needed to run a world-class hospital,” Mr. Edwards said.

He regarded PHA Academy as one of the most innovative and exciting new initiatives being rolled out by the PHA team, with the support of the Ministry of Health & Wellness. The Academy will also provide credentials and certifications via a hybrid-learning model encompassing online and in-person training.

Currently, he noted, many persons residing in the Family Islands have to come to Nassau to get routine, but potentially life-saving, services performed.  Thanks to the capacities of PHA Academy, “those services will soon be available throughout The Bahamas,” Mr. Edwards said.