The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre has been saved from imminent closure.

The Government and the Opposition have been at odds about the public health centre’s future and the financial burden it will have on the public purse.  Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has indicated it should be closed while Shadow Health Minister Zane DeSilva has boisterously called on the facility to remain open.

Minister Gordon-Pamplin released the 2007 Lamb Foggo business plan this morning after a ZBM television news report last night revealed the urgent care centre was operating in the black and perhaps not operating as the loss-maker previously indicated.  Also today the Opposition Health Minister and MP for the area, Lovitta Foggo, said the Government could keep the facility open, and in the black, if it was more efficient with its costs.

Late today, the Government conceded and agreed to keep the clinic open.  It’s unclear though if this is a permanent move or a temporary one in response to public pressure.  Residents had planned a march on Parliament scheduled for Friday.


 

Statement by Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin

The Government’s primary mission and priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people of Bermuda.

Integral to this mission is the need to make sure our health care system provides everyone with access to good quality care.

The decision by the Bermuda Hospitals Board to close the Lamb-Foggo Urgent Care Centre on November 29 challenges the tenets of this mission.

And the public outcry that has followed in its wake reflects it.

It also reflects the very difficult challenge we face as a community between meeting people’s health care needs while doing so in ways that are financially sustainable.

My colleagues and I have paid very close attention to what people have been saying about the planned closure of the clinic.

We have listened to their concerns, we recognise their needs and we understand their fears, particularly as they relate to the needs of the East End in the event of a natural disaster that cuts off access to medical and hospital-based resources.

As a result, and in consultation with my colleagues, I have directed the Bermuda Hospitals Board to keep the Lamb-Foggo Urgent Care Centre open until an alternative plan is worked out that meets the needs of the people of the East End.

I cannot provide you with a timeframe as to when that will come about, but I want the people of the East End to rest assured that the facility will continue to be there for them until an acceptable and financially viable alternative arrangement is in place that meets their needs.

We are going to make this situation work.


PLP Praises OBA Reversal on Lamb Foggo 

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva and St. David's MP Lovitta Foggo tonight are commending the Premier for "heeding the voice of the people" and temporarily reversing their decision to close the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre.

Constituency #3 MP Lovitta Foggo said, "The people have spoken and the Premier has wisely decided to listen.  It takes true leadership to heed the voice of the people and acknowledge that this decision was rash and short sighted. My constituents, thousands of people in the east end and Bermudians across the island have shown that there is strength in unity and that a people united will never be defeated. This isn't a victory for any political party or any special interest group, it is a victory for Bermudians.  It is for them that I will continue to fight to ensure that THIS OBA promise is kept and that the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre keeps its doors open PERMANENTLY for the benefit of the people."

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva said,"With the people's victory in hand and Lamb Foggo temporarily remaining open we need to focus on ways to make sure that it becomes more efficient, more cost effective and operate at a surplus.  The OBA have shown that they can work with us on this issue and together we should now expand this discussion into overall health reform with an eye towards holistic cost reduction without sacrificing quality care."

Statement by Deputy Leader of The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, The Hon. Derrick Burgess

The people have spoken, the Premier has responded but the people have only won a temporary opportunity to keep Lamb Foggo open. Tomorrow at 12pm the protest is set to continue in recognition that a permanent solution be found.

Lamb Foggo is operating at a surplus and there is no reason to close this facility. The people of the east end deserve to be heard and when they march tomorrow at noon to present their petition and push for a permanent solution, we believe that the OBA will be convinced of the need to keep this urgent care centre open permanently.