*File photo
*File photo
21 April 2010

Statement by Lovita Foggo

Just a few short months ago, the people of St. David's united with Bermudians from across the island, in an effort to save the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre from being shut down by the Bermuda Hospital Board (BHB)/OBA.

Over the years, many of us have come to see this facility as a Godsend having observed and experienced first hand the benefits of having a facility of this nature here in the east end.  For that reason, thousands of Bermudians, from all walks of life, came together without regard to race or political affiliation, to keep Lamb Foggo open.

After gathering thousands of signatures and holding a protest on the steps of Parliament, we witnessed Premier Cannonier say, "I believe that in the process of this, there was no consultation and there was error in no consultation....As we move forward, we need to ensure that the east end is supplied with a unit which will meet the needs of the people." 

In fact, he stated unequivocally, that Lamb Foggo would remain OPEN.  When further questioned by the public to ensure that he was NOT implying for the six months only, he gave his assurance pointing out that he made his comment in front of all Bermuda, so the people could rely on his word.  The Premier did the right thing! 

As the six months of review continues, the question begs will the promise be kept?  Is the BHB trying to have this decision rescinded?  Why you may ponder? 

1.Operating hours have not been restored to meet the needs of the people and still no move to put a physician there for 8am to 12 midnight.  This impacts on patient use, the daily number of patients seen and therefore the dollar value earned by the hospital. 

2. Lab work and other functions still have not been restored and people continue to be directed to go to KEMH for services that are/were provided at Lamb Foggo. This impacts on patient use, the daily number of patients seen and therefore the dollar value earned by the hospital.

3. Equipment (laboratory) has been removed from the facility and the further removal of the x-ray machinery is being contemplated.  This impacts on patient use, the daily number of patients seen and therefore the dollar value earned by the hospital.

4. Supplies are being kept to a minimum resulting in some patients being told they must go to KEMH to be tended to.  This impacts on patient use, the daily number of patients seen and therefore the dollar value earned by the hospital.

5. The BHB still does not market this facility.  This impacts on patient use, the daily number of patients seen and therefore the dollar value earned by the hospital.

6. Recommendations coming from the community have been ignored further impacting use of the facility.

7. It is purported that the BHB is engaged in gathering data which comprises where a person resides to demonstrate that a good number of people using the facility are not from the east end; data to be used to bolster their argument for closure.  Is this a legitimate criterion for closure?  Surely not!  Lamb Foggo is for ALL residents of Bermuda!

8. There was the push and attempt to close Lamb Foggo when records proved it was operating in the black in 2013.  It is purported that closure will still occur.

Is this indicative of orchestrated failure?  Remember the main purpose for closure was based on a dollar value!  Have the BHB/OBA given Lamb-Foggo a fair shot to succeed by letting it operate as it should? Definitely not!  Indeed it was formerly highlighted both in Parliament and subsequently through public media that a mere increase of 8 patients daily would ensure viability of the facility. 

The Oughton and Anderson reports emphasised the need for facilities such as Lamb Foggo in assisting KEMH in meeting public demand.  The BHB in its 2010 report spoke to the decline in ‘long waits’ at KEMH attributing this to the added service provided by Lamb Foggo, thereby improving quality of service.  Lamb Foggo can work to benefit both the people and the hospital if managed and utilised appropriately!

Our community was grateful to have the urgent care centre and it has been a lifesaver and time saver for countless Bermudians.  We cannot let the BHB/OBA take this away from us.  I urge those who support the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre to continue to make it clear that we need Lamb Foggo.  Together, we turned back the BHB/OBA's decision to shut down Lamb Foggo and it is that unity that we must draw upon again.  

For our seniors who and local nursing homes and schools which, do and should rely on the various services provided by Lamb Foggo, for our safety during hurricanes and for those who require urgent care and simply can't afford to wait until they get to Paget or wait after they get there, we must unite and stop the BHB/OBA from taking away the east end's medical lifeline.  There is no dollar that would ever equate to the value of human life.