Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces that there will be evening only hours from 6pm to 10pm Monday to Friday at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) from Thursday 13 January, to assist with ensuring adequate staffing levels are available in the Emergency Department at KEMH. The weekend hours will remain the same from 9 am to 9 pm.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “The temporary change in the weekday hours are due to a number of factors, including staffing issues, with some existing vacant positions and COVID-19 quarantine absences. We are extremely busy in the main Emergency Department at the moment.

We are seeing many very unwell patients who need admission. This is not primarily driven by COVID-19 infections, but pre-existing medical conditions. We are struggling to get patients discharged in a timely manner from inpatient units, as they need community services, nursing home placements or family support.

This has resulted in an increasing number of people waiting in the Emergency Department following admission, delays in timely assessment and management of the new patients attending and a high overall number of patients in the ED needing care. We are managing, but the reduced staffing numbers and the high acuity patients attending means that the Emergency Department service delivery is under a lot of pressure.”

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, comments: “As community infections rise, so does the number of BHB staff who are impacted. BHB currently has nearly 150 staff off work due to positive results or as close contacts.

While generally we have maintained services to date, the reduced UCC hours allow us to redeploy a full time nurse back to the ED which will assist in delivering care where the most unwell people are in need. We continue to review our situation as more people are impacted by positive cases. While hospitalised COVID patient numbers have been relatively low with omicron, they are rising, and with staff levels under pressure we may have to review the delivery of care in non-urgent outpatient areas should the situation continue to escalate.”

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