The Cayman Islands Hospital will be able to absorb the additional demand for obstetrical services once Cayman’s only privately owned hospital closes its maternity wing at the end of this month, according to Health Services Authority Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood.
Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital owner Dr. Steve Tomlinson told the Caymanian Compass last week that his hospital would close its obstetrics wing as of Dec. 31. Dr. Tomlinson said obstetricians, if they wish, could still use the hospital facilities to deliver babies in 2014, but that the private hospital would no longer provide staff to assist with deliveries, and doctors would have to bear those costs on their own.
“The Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital has been a valuable partner in the provision of maternity services over the years,” said Ms Yearwood. “Their termination of this service is a loss to the community, but the HSA is more than capable of absorbing the additional deliveries.
“The private antenatal services provided by obstetricians in the community will continue as usual; only the delivery location is changing.”
According to Ms Yearwood, the Health Services Authority handles between 85 and 90 percent of the births on Grand Cayman.
“The additional workload will be absorbed with no negative effect on our patients,” she said.
There are currently about a half-dozen private physicians who provide obstetrical care on the islands, in addition to those who are employed at the publicly funded Health Services Authority.
In Cayman, according to the annual Compendium of Statistics, more than 700 “live” resident births are recorded each year. In 2010, there were 821 live births; in 2011, there were 800 births recorded, and in 2012 there were 759 recorded, according to the compendium. The statistics do not include stillbirths.
Previous reports compiled by Caymanian Compass staff indicated that approximately half of the annual deliveries are at the Cayman Islands Hospital with public service obstetricians and midwives, and the other half are by private practitioners. However, those estimates are somewhat misleading, since some private doctors use the public hospital facilities to deliver babies, depending on the patient’s wishes.
Dr. Tomlinson estimated there were, on average, 120 to 130 births at Chrissie Tomlinson annually.
Over the past three years, according to government statistics, the Cayman Islands has averaged 793 births each year. If the Cayman Islands Hospital was to deliver them all, the maternity wing would average more than two births per day.
Chrissie Tomlinson’s obstetrical wing will be replaced by two new operating rooms and a six-bed ambulatory surgical unit. The hospital will increase its number of operating rooms from two to four with the move. The expansion of the ambulatory surgical unit will also allow the hospital to improve its services and offer more services there, Dr. Tomlinson said.
“Our present operating suites will be renovated and upgraded,” the hospital statement read. “This expansion is necessary to accommodate the increased demand by resident and visiting surgical specialists.”
Dr. Tomlinson said the operating rooms will be used to perform advanced neurosurgical and orthopedic procedures.