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BHB CEO: Hospital Beds Are ‘Completely Full’

[Updated] “Every single bed in our Emergency Department and in our new Acute Care Wing is completely full,” Bermuda Hospitals Board [BHB] CEO Venetta Symonds said today, adding that, “I will go as far as to say that operationally, internally to BHB it is a crisis.”

Ms. Symonds said, “There are no patient beds right now at the hospital. And what does that mean? It means if you need acute care of course, you’re going to come to BHB, but right now, every single bed in our Emergency Department and in our new Acute Care Wing is completely full.

“How does this impact you? Well, first of all, if you’re an outpatient and you’re looking to have a surgical procedure in the next week or so, you might get a call saying that your surgical procedure has been postponed.”

Update 6.17pm [the remaining transcription]:
Ms Symonds said, “”You need to know you have options. You can talk to your doctor as well, as talk to your insurer to find out what your options are for your elective surgeries, because we will take care of acutely ill patients first.

”How else can you help? When BHB sets a discharge time for your loved ones, please be here to pick them up on time. That is really helpful. If you are a partner in the community and you run a home for individuals who need residential care, please know that when we discharge, it might not be during normal work hours as it normally is before five o’clock. It might be outside of those hours, because every single bed matters right now.

“We all need to work together to make sure that our hospital can accommodate you. We have been experiencing increases in capacity within the last couple of months. Yes, there are a lot of respiratory illnesses right now, but there are a multitude of factors that are making it difficult for BHB to empty beds.

“Please be assured that we are working with the Minister of Health and other stakeholders to manage the medium and long term needs for Bermuda, but right now in this immediate situation, I will go as far as to say that operationally, internally to BHB it is a crisis. And in order for us to deliver for us to deliver the very best of care for you and your loved ones when you’re acutely ill, we will most definitely need your support.

“Go to your doctor, your general practitioner first, or use our urgent care center. Use those things that are immediately available to you. Remember, when we’re discharging, come and pick up your loved ones. If you do have delayed care, call your doctor and call your insurer to find out what your options are.

“Thank you for your patience during this time and trust that we are managing the situation the best way we can. Thank you to our staff who continue to deliver. working overtime, working additional hours to make sure that all of us on the island are provided consistent, high quality care. Thank you.”

Update 8.04pm: Minister Jeanne Atherden said, “As Minister of Health & Seniors, I’m aware that currently there are not enough beds available at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. I implore you to follow the advice of BHB’s CEO Venetta Symonds.

“If you have a non-emergency illness, please see a general practitioner or visit the Urgent Care Center, rather than going to the emergency room. If you’re collecting a loved one who has been discharged, please be on time.

“If you’re an administrator of a rest home, I ask that you work with KEMH to discharge patients back to the residence, even after hours, so the hospital beds can be available for patients that need acute care. The hospital is not a rest home.

“My Ministry is working on solutions to long-term care, because in this crisis, clearly there are not enough beds in the community for long-term care patients. This was one of our Throne Speech initiatives.

“I ask that we show our true Bermudian spirit in this crisis, and come together with fortitude, patience, and generosity, and make adjustments under the circumstances.

“Our team is looking at possibilities right now, and we ask for your continued understanding as we work through this situation. BHB’s team is doing all that it can to take care of everyone safely. Please do your part to help.”

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