Press Release
17 October 2019 - 4:20pm

STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 

DURING THE SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FOURTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THURSDAY 17TH OCTOBER, 2019
AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA

Status of the New Nurse Iris O’Neal Medical Centre on Virgin Gorda

Mister Speaker I am grateful for this opportunity to provide an update on the progress of the first phase of construction of the new Nurse Iris O'Neal Medical Centre on Virgin Gorda, which has been long anticipated and fraught with setbacks.

I am delighted to report that the General Contractor, James Todman Construction Ltd., has now achieved substantial completion, and the project team is finalizing the snag list with the contractor as to any outstanding defects for correction towards the full completion of the works by the end of November 2019.   Various building services including Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electricals have been tested and commissioned; while the Medical Gases and Fire Protection systems are awaiting certification from external parties prior to being fully commissioned.  The generator and automatic transfer switch are scheduled to be transported to the site during this week with installation, testing and commissioning to be completed within three weeks.  At present, the total value of the contract stands at $7,016,228.90 with $6,649,921.49 being certified for payment. Mister Speaker the increase of $1,046,541.51 from the original contract sum of $5,969,687.39 is attributable to the fact that the Contractor was asked to perform a significant amount of additional works under the current phase of construction, which were considered necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the facility.

With respect to the commissioning of the facility, Mister Speaker, the BVI Health Services Authority is responsible for the installation of all fire and safety systems; access control systems; signage; security systems and cameras; and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) installations. Once the building is handed over from the Contractor, the BVI Health Services Authority will also complete a number of other critical steps related to equipment, furnishings, medical equipment, supplies, and operations, including human resources.   Several pieces of critical equipment and furnishings have been ordered and some have already been shipped, such as chairs, couches, desks, cabinets, scales, stretchers, wheel chairs, medical lights, resuscitation equipment, and stands.  An x-ray machine was shipped by the manufacturer GE on the 9th of October to be installed by GE upon arrival, and an ultrasound machine has already been received. 

Further to that, Mister Speaker,  plans are in place for the phased expansion of services to be delivered from the new facility, such as audiological services, chronic care, dental health, improved emergency and urgent care, family health, home visits, health promotion and education, pharmacy, laboratory, imaging, specialty clinics, and physiotherapy. 

The Nurse Iris O’Neal Medical Centre will continue to provide emergency stabilization and transfer of patients needing further care to the Dr. D Orlando Smith Hospital while enhancing the level of Primary Care services available.

 Commissioning of the new facility is expected to increase staffing to 4 doctors, 1 Public Health Nurse, and 10 Registered Nurses to facilitate 24 hour service capability for urgent cases and emergencies.  Full-time equivalent pharmacist, imaging technologists, and laboratory technologists will be provided to facilitate access to these services on Virgin Gorda.  In preparation for the required staffing increase the BVIHSA has already enhanced its recruitment efforts and has recruited additional laboratory technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and imaging technicians to facilitate the full time equivalent staff required to provide these services.  A number of these staff will be arriving in the next few months.

Mister Speaker I close by expressing thanks to the project team, contractors, construction professionals, donors and other contributors who have worked together to ensure that the residents of Virgin Gorda and surrounding islands can have easier access to a wide range of healthcare services.  I encourage the community to continue to support the BVIHSA Pledge Programme where your contributions can be earmarked for the Nurse Iris O’Neal Medical Centre for the additional equipment and furnishings needed as we progress towards completion of the second floor of the building.

I look forward to celebrating the opening of the facility with all of you at a date to be announced very shortly.

Thank you for your indulgence, Mister Speaker.

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