Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton explained the reason a contract was entered into for the dentist stationed at Premier Dental to perform services on behalf of the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority.
During the questions and answers section in the House of Assembly on 12 March, Minister Skelton explained that the decision to enter into agreement with Premier Dental arose after the BVI Health Services Authority experienced ongoing environmental issues with the building that housed its dental services. These environmental issues, Hon. Skelton said led to periodic closures dating back to December 2012.
In fact, Hon. Skelton told the House that based on an air quality rating by an independent contractor, and following several unsuccessful attempts to remedy the situation, the BVI HSA opted to close the service and enter into a public/private partnership until a new permanent location could be identified for the clinic.
The Minister explained that the temporary arrangement with Premier Dental allowed for dental staff of the BVI HSA to continue to treat children, elderly, and indigent patients without them having to pay out-of-pocket.
This initial contract, Minister Skelton said, covers the period 10 June 2014 – 31 December 2014, and has since been extended to 30 June 2015.
“With the recent relocation of clinical services to the new Peebles Hospital, a section of the old Peebles Hospital is being retrofitted to accommodate the dental clinic. Madam Speaker, dental services are scheduled to be provided from this new location, beginning on 1st July, 2015,” the Minister of Health disclosed.