(SKNIS): Minister of Health, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, has described the manner in which the Mary Charles Hospital in Molineux has been constructed and the type of healthcare that is being offered as transformative.

He said this at the re-opening of the medical institution on August 31, 2016, stating that it would be another example of an integrated driven system like the Pogson Medical Centre in Sandy Point.

“Since the pattern of illness and injury has changed, influenced by lifestyle changes, this required us to modify the way Mary Charles was designed and how it operates in the future,” Minister Hamilton said. “It also means that we have to pay attention to other facilities and how they’re designed in the future. The focus must be different; it’s what we call transformative. It is about healthcare. We want to make this health system about healthcare, not sickness care.”

The Minister of Health outlined that the Mary Charles hospital was appropriately named after a strong teacher, who operated as an effective head-teacher in an era when the profession was dominated by men. He said the institution was a legacy that spoke volumes.

“This health facility is part of a shared vision, a shared vision of persons from all walks of life and political persuasions as well,” Minister Hamilton said. “This facility represents a commitment to the values, to the principles and to the elements of Government’s overall strategy of delivering primary healthcare.

Minister Hamilton outlined that it was necessary for the hospital to become transformative because currently the healthcare system has to address matters that have to do with lifestyle and injuries. Statistics were provided toward this end, revealing that one percent of the population has HIV, 10 to 15 cases per year; 60 to 70 new cases of cancer per year and five to 10 percent of the population have mental or behavioural disorders including addictions to liquor and drugs. Pertaining to Non Communicable Diseases (NCD’s), he said that 20 percent of adults, one in every five has diabetes, while over 20 children suffer from the same condition, when in 1990 there was none. Thirty-four percent of adults, one in three was said to have high blood pressure; 75 percent of adults, three out of four and 50 percent of our children, one out of two, are overweight or obese while over half of the primary school children have dental cavities.”

“There are so many vehicular accidents and gunshot injuries, traumatic events to date,” Minister Hamilton said. “That is using up all the resources that we have in our facilities. All that is lifestyle. It means we have to focus on changing lifestyle to reduce the incidents of illnesses and injuries.”

The Minister stressed that just like the Federation, larger countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, are placing renewed emphasis on health promotion and community-based care to keep people healthy and out of hospital. It was noted that the role of hospitals would still remain.

“There must be hospitals because catastrophic medical events will occur,” Minister Hamilton said. “This Mary Charles Hospital, while satisfying that need, should and must also focus on protection, prevention and promoting good health. And we will offer services to protect health, prevent illnesses, promote and maintain and sustain good health and keep people from becoming in-patients in the hospital.”

The hospital is expected to be the base for an ambulance and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team that will serve the communities from Cayon to Dieppe Bay, and it will also be the base for the Health Inspectors in the area. There would also be diagnostic capabilities inclusive of limited laboratory facilities. The call was made for residents to have a personal stake in the care of the facility.

“Tax dollars alone can never pay for all the things that this facility needs,” Minister Hamilton said. “I urge someone in this group, I challenge you to create a foundation to raise funds, to help to upkeep this Mary Charles Hospital in this community.”