After all was said and done, the Bermuda Health Council admits that there are areas in which the Standar Health Benefit SHB) program may need improvements.

This after the Hamilton Medical Centre on Burnaby Street in Hamilton was granted approval to be included in the SHB, some five years after they submitted their initial application.

The urgent care and medical imaging facility yesterday that it had been granted SHB approval on the recommendation of its SHB committee.

JJ Soares, Medical Director of the facility, said he was delighted by the decision, which was made official on August 9.

“I’m delighted to have received SHB approval for the centre,“ he said.

“I have always believed that everyone should have equal access to our state-of-the-art medical facility. Studies have repeatedly shown that newer scanning equipment is safer and produces higher quality images.

Photo by Chris Burville. Hamilton Medical Center Opening

“I would like to thank the international committee for objectively considering our application and for agreeing with our perspective, which contrasted with most all prior recommendations from the Bermuda Health Council.

“Now that SHB approval has been awarded, HIP and Future Care patients [in addition to the privately insured] can have access to our more up to date imaging equipment at no out of pocket charge, as has been the case for most all other imaging centers on island.”

“I would also like to thank the thousands of Bermudians and locals who have supported this campaign for access. It has been a five-year struggle to communicate the benefits of using newer diagnostic imaging equipment, so I am relieved that this is now over. It is unfortunate that it has had to take this long.”

More than 7,000 people signed a petition calling for the SHB approval that said: “It has been a five-year struggle to communicate the benefits of using newer diagnostic imaging equipment.“

Acknowledging the approval, a spokesman said last night: “The council is committed to addressing the challenges of our health care system with a proactive approach.

“We recognise the areas in which the SHB programme may need improvements and will take measures to address these issues in conjunction with our ongoing Universal Health Coverage consultation.”