Following coverage in today’s media the Bermuda Health Council (BHeC), the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Ministry of Health and Seniors seek to clarify that there are no initiatives being pursued to crudely move patients out of the hospital.

On the contrary, the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is in the process of remodelling its service to be more patient-centred, with existing wards consolidating patients based on their acuity and needs (namely acute care, long term care and rehabilitation), and has been working to coordinate with the community for safe discharges.

The Health Council is also working with stakeholders across the health system to extend the Standard Hospital Benefit so that, when patients are discharged, their home medical care can be covered. The initiative is intended to extend coverage to enable discharging of social cases from acute care by providing an alternative option via home medical care. Enabling extended coverage is not to be confused with denying necessary medical care. In addition, the initiative refers acute care not the Continuing Care Unit, which will continue to provide long-term care.

Jennifer Attride-Stirling, CEO of BHeC said: “The public should be assured that there is nothing underway that would force needy patients out of acute or extended care, and that any initiatives pursued under the Standard Hospital Benefit will protect medically necessary care for all patients.”

Venetta Symonds, BHB CEO & President comments: “Bermuda Hospitals Board today clarifies that it is currently working to put in place alternative level of care wards for non-acute patients who cannot be discharged home safely.  Long term care seniors are not being discharged out of the hospital without a safe place to go.  BHB has a duty towards all those in their care to ensure high quality services and will only discharge an individual from the hospital when he or she is medically fit to do so, and it can be done safely.  This will not change.  BHB is working with its partners to co-ordinate senior placements and also seeking better ways to care for those who are waiting for a safe discharge that will help the cost burden to Bermuda.”

A Ministry of Health and Seniors spokesperson added: “The Ministry of Health supports the steps taken by both the BHeC and the BHB to control costs in Bermuda’s healthcare system. The Ministry is sure that any efforts will not have a negative impact on the quality of care.”