*iStock photo
*iStock photo

Tackling the ‘grease ball’ problem and reducing the cost of healthcare are at the top of the new Health Minister’s ‘to do’ list.

Jeanne Atherden said it was vital to address the problems that impacted on Bermuda’s livelihood.

And the new Minister for Health, Seniors and the Environment pledged to continue the work of her predecessor, Trevor Moniz, in keeping the public up to date with efforts to tackle pollution on South Shore.

Last week she told the Bermuda Sun she had full confidence in the hospital project despite news that the hospital fundraising campaign was $10 million short of its target.

Grease balls

And she said that the high cost of healthcare remained a pressing concern for the department.

She said: “Grease balls and the sewage issue is something we need to sort out urgently.

“It’s very important that anything that impacts on Bermuda and our livelihood; we want to make sure from a health perspective we do what is right.

“We are doing the sea water testing and working with restaurants to solve this problem.

“We need to make sure we cut out the source of the problem

“The point is we have to solve it at the closest point to the source.

“We have a lot of groups working together on this issue and this will continue in order to determine what should happen next and in what time frame.

“A lot has already happened but we need to make sure people are looking as far down the road as possible.”

Referring to the cost of healthcare on the island, Mrs Atherden added: “We need to make sure that all the parties are involved.

“We need to drive the cost of healthcare down but increase the results.”

At the beginning of the month, it emerged that a campaign to raise $40 million for a down payment on the new hospital wing was still well short of its target, prompting fresh appeals from Premier Michael Dunkley for donations (see page 13 for $1 million hospital donation).

But Mrs Atherden defended efforts to garner more donations from the public and said she had the upmost confidence the project would hit its deadline.

She said: “This is the only hospital on the island so everyone will benefit from it.

“There are always people making donations to help it and this is no different.

“We will have conversations with the hospital board and time issues can usually be managed.

“I am satisfied the doors will be opening on time.”