The nation’s only referral hospital is getting a facelift. The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has embarked on a program to improve its aesthetics and it is turning to the private sector for partnership. With an annual budget of around eighteen point five million dollars, of which sixty percent goes towards emoluments, there’s hardly any money left in the kitty for repairs. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.
Marion Ali, Reporting
The Karl Heusner Memorial has been in operation since the mid 1980’s and it is the country’s only referral hospital. The institution has undergone several phases of retrofitting and retrograding over the years. Now, with a limited budget, it has sought to go about improving the aesthetical aspects using a whole new approach. Chief Executive Officer at the K.H.M.H., Doctor Gary Longsworth says the hospital is appealing to business and private sectors to help.
Doctor Gary Longsworth, C.E.O., KHMH
“Our capital budget is quite limited on an annual basis so we have to prioritize and do the urgent things with that capital budget. But there is more to the hospital than buying an x-ray machine or a new operating table for your theatre. There is a lot more that needs to be done to benefit the service delivery and the comfort of the patients. So the ‘adopt a ward’ is to try to make the hospital a bit more aesthetic, welcoming, comfortable, putting the amenities that are missing or that have gone into disrepair and to make it more of a healing environment. We realized that we would be unable to fix and refurbish the hospital on our own given budgetary constraints and so on.”
The Public Relations team comprising the hospital’s Training and Public Relations Coordinator, Brenda Stuart and Public Relations Officer, Sheena Garnett, have been working with the private and public sectors to get the programme off the ground. It is a programme that Stuart says has been received favorably. But there is still the need for much more help and they are calling on the businesses to take ownership of the institution.
Brenda Stuart, Training/Public Relations Coordinator, KHMH
“There are two areas of the ‘adopt a ward’ project—the adoption, being an adopter or a sustainer. In adopting, we are asking organizations to share the project with the employees and we want a ‘hands on’ approach. We want employees to come in, identify a ward, adopt a ward hall or room. We’ve gotten a good response and feedback from the business community. For instance, Belize Bank has adopted our neonatal intensive care unit, the first Caribbean has adopted a portion of our pediatric ward and presently we have another institution that has adopted our maternity ward. What they have done specifically is to go to their employees within the organizations and their clubs—most organizations have social clubs and they are doing the fundraising on their own.”
The sections of the hospital still up for adoption are the lobby, the specialty clinic, operating theatre, the asthma bay, which needs to be expanded, the halls and corridors, and most of all the morgue, which also needs to be expanded. If you’re interested in adopting one of these areas at the K.H.M.H., you may email the hospital at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stuart says the programmes run for one-year spans and can be renewed thereafter. But while the hospital is improving the aesthetics within its walls, it is also improving on the services that the staff delivers to the public.
Dr. Gary Longsworth
“You have to fight ingrained attitudes and sometime cultural issues that come to the floor as well but at the end of it all what we want is a more user friendly hospital in all aspects.”
“This is the people’s hospital, the flagship hospital and we want it to be at the top standard for people to be able to use and feel comfortable coming to the hospital.”
And just in case you’re feeling very generous, the K.H.M.H. administration would also welcome a paint job for the outside. Marion Ali for News Five.
And if you or a loved one has experienced less than polite treatment from the hospital, you may call the hospital at 223-1548 and ask for its Public Relations Officer, Sheena Garnett to make a complaint.