by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Island Health Services to relocate to Grand Etang Road, St George’s
- New facility should be completed in time for Kidney Awareness Month in March
- State-of-the-art dialysis unit is expected to be energy efficient
The relocation and expansion of Island Health Services which provides haemodialysis treatment (HT) at the St Augustine Medical Services to its new location on the Grand Etang Road in St George’s, will help deal with critical space shortage at its present location.
Managing Director at Island Health Services (IHS), Trevor Forrester is optimistic that construction on the new facility will be completed in time for Kidney Awareness Month in March. At present the unit upstairs the St Augustine Medical Services can only treat 3 patients at the same time with 4 hours of treatment required per patient. The new location will help to accommodate 5 dialysis machines in the beginning, with the intention of increasing the number of machines to 8. “We will be operating 5 machines here at one time, to begin with, we have the capacity to run up to 8 at the same time, we will have a back-up equipment for all those as well which will be stored at another location. St Augustine will still have access to dialysis, we will be keeping only one unit so it will be private care. It’s a small private hospital, and it is becoming very cumbersome with our operations being in there.”
“The hospital will be more for acute care. I know the hospital is putting in its own HT unit in the coming years aligning with National Health Insurance, meanwhile we have a mobile unit we can offer them. The hospital does have a developing dialysis unit, but currently they only provide peritoneal dialysis, however they have plans to implement acute dialysis which the IHS has made a proposal to provide, and there are plans for a full unit in line with hospital developments.”
With the coming of National Health Insurance (NHI), Forrester has welcomed this move, adding that this will help to assist the patients struggling to fund their dialysis treatment. “I am hoping as a country to get it to organised correctly, but we can only do that by starting and it’s one thing that will see investment in healthcare. In Grenada we need a lot of specialties in healthcare, but it is expensive to start. We have been in 13 years now and it has taken a lot to build block by block because there is no holistic payment mechanism for any investment in healthcare but something like National Health Insurance allows for a health care investment whether a doctor of private investor similar to myself to then calculate and project the costs of setting up a clinic.”
Forrester added, “We are not worried about this part as we began this operation in 2006, with the application of KDOQI, AMMI and ISO 9000 standards. We are now in the process of adopting an update standard lead by a UK healthcare consultant, which will have us well ready for NHI compliance.”
The new state-of-the-art dialysis unit is expected to be energy efficient. “We will be installing a water system that purifies up to 100 gallons every 10 minutes. We would also have a backup mobile one that we will keep at this location that will support both us and the hospital. We will be getting into solar, we will also be getting a generator as a backup.” Forrester says he is mindful of the cost of dialysis treatment and has promised not to increase the cost of dialysis to patients. “In terms of us trying to manage the price for dialysis and hopefully, possibly reduce or sustain it as opposed to increasing it, we are looking to solar, we are looking to cool with inverters to maintain cost.”
Plans are underway for the formation of a Nephrology Service, in collaboration with private, SGU and hospital doctors. The new Haemodialysis Unit will be strategically situated close to the General Hospital and will occupy the building which once housed the corporate headquarters of George F Huggins & Co. (G’da) Ltd, on Grand Etang Road in St George’s.