There is, as of yet, no designated site, but a new and larger health clinic serving Bodden Town is expected to be under construction by 2021.
Premier Alden McLaughlin mentioned the new facility as part of his Strategic Policy Statement delivered to the Legislative Assembly last month, saying it would provide better access to care for people on the eastern side of the island.
“This new facility, when complete, would offer more medical services and relieve some of the pressures from our main hospital in George Town by offering additional primary medical care, as well as X-ray facilities and dialysis,” McLaughlin said. “The government has agreed to donate a suitable site for the project and the HSA will fund the building from its own sources.”
The current Jessie Ritch Memorial Health Centre in Bodden Town is located next to the police station and is prone to flooding. It was damaged in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan.
The clinic provides general practice, paediatric and gynaecological services four days a week. Other than Mondays, when they are available from 8am to 9pm, services are limited to three hours each day.
Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, director of primary healthcare services at the Health Services Authority, said discussions with government about a new clinic are in the preliminary stages. Talk of the need for such a facility has been ongoing for a number of years, he said.
“Bodden Town district is the fastest growing district,” Williams-Rodriguez said. “We feel there’s a need to improve services there. We will also have to look at West Bay in the future.”
Government properties are under review to determine the best site for the new clinic, which Williams-Rodriguez said will have more space and staff than the existing facility.
“It definitely will be larger,” he said. “We definitely would plan to have X-rays and a lab, and there’s some talk of dialysis. We’re definitely going to need more personnel. The numbers will be determined by the services we provide. We plan to expand the services and we plan to have urgent care.”
Currently, the clinic handles urgent cases on an unofficial basis.
“They do accommodate anyone that walks in,” Williams-Rodriguez said, but anything serious has to be referred to the main hospital in George Town.
Williams-Rodriguez said he expects ground to be broken on the clinic in 2021.