St. John Polyclinic to have extended hours

Ghanaian nurses coming

The David Thompson Health & Social Services Complex at Glebe Land, St. John will introduce extended opening times very soon, rather than go the full 24-hours.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said this will come into effect when nurses from the Republic of Ghana arrive in Barbados.

Over 100 nurses from the West African country are expected within a couple of weeks, he disclosed.

The healthcare workers who will boost the nursing complement at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), District Hospitals and Polyclinics arrival had been delayed due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“You would have recalled that we had to put some brakes on the 24-hour service at the St. John Polyclinic, and that was because of issues we had in relation to the nurses from Ghana. Obviously countries started to go on lockdown, Ghana itself had to deal with COVID-19…I would say probably the two last months or so, we have been in constant contact with authorities in Ghana and I had a meeting about a week and a half ago with the Minister of Health of Ghana,” he revealed.

“They are ready to go, everything now on our end has been done, and now we are in the process of arranging for a flight to bring the nurses from Ghana to Barbados within the next few weeks. And once those nurses have arrived and quarantine and so, then we would be in a better picture in terms of determining when we will commence the service at St. John Polyclinic.”

Minister Bostic, having announced that St. John Polyclinic would now be operating later hours than it currently does, said that move is also due to lack of transportation.

He explained, “You would recall that I did indicate that we would not go a full 24 hours initially. It would become first of all an extended hours clinic, so that the clinic would run seven days a week, and later hours than it currently does. And that is because the transportation situation in the country does not facilitate a 24-hour operation at St. John, so we are awaiting the arrival of buses so that we can sit with MTW, Transport Authority to determine some routes that would facilitate easy access to the clinic at St. John.”

“Also, we looked at the volume of traffic that we saw coming into the Winston Scott 24-hour service and the fact that the numbers coming from St. John and catchment areas of St. George, St. Joseph and St. Andrew were not at that high enough level that would have given us the confidence of going full 24-hours. Now, that may not be a result of persons not available or wanting to access the 24 hour service, but obviously the bus situation was a significant problem.”

The Health Minister added, “So, we are going to start with extended hours, see how that goes, we are going to promote it – and then after that we would then escalate to the full 24-hours. But, it is all incumbent on the arrival of the nurses from Ghana which we expect in a couple weeks.” (TL)

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