The sister island of Anegada is in great need of a doctor based on the island, and residents are continuing to press for the provision of one as a doctor only visits the island once weekly.
However, District Nine Representative, Hon. Dr. Hubert O’Neal says that the difficulty in getting this done is that doctors are unwilling to be stationed on Anegada.
Hon. Dr. O’Neal, who is seeking reelection as the District Representative, made this revelation last night, January 9, after his challenger on the Virgin Islands Party (VIP), Mr. Vincent Wheatley told residents that he would be pushing to have a resident doctor on Anegada if elected.
“We have to find a way that we could get a doctor stationed on Anegada. Currently, a doctor goes to Anegada once a week, providing the water is not rough,” Mr. Wheatley stated.
In response, Dr. O’Neal said that this is something that he has been trying to implement for a while.
“It has been a difficult situation trying to get a doctor resident on Anegada. I, being a doctor myself, am very concerned about that. We have tried on many occasions to get a doctor resident on Anegada, but as you would realise, being Anegada is such a small community, you can hardly find a doctor that is willing to reside on Anegada,” he stated.
He further indicated that they have unsuccessfully approached retired doctors to offer such services on the island, which is home to about 200 persons.
During the Ninth District Debate, one resident rose up to question why Anegada was not provided with a mini hospital, such as the one being established on Virgin Gorda.
It was explained that because there are no lights at the airport on Anegada, persons who are injured overnight have to travel to Tortola by boat or helicopter, or wait until the following day to be treated.
There is a health clinic on the island that is open during working hours daily, Hon. Dr. O’Neal told residents, adding that the establishment of a mini hospital on Anegada—which has a population of about 200—would not be feasible, as opposed to building one on Virgin Gorda which is home to roughly 4000 persons.
“Anegada is a much smaller community. There is a resident population of about 200 persons. However, it is a small community and having a facility of this size on Anegada is not quite feasible at this time. We have to develop what is there on Anegada, the clinic and to make sure that we have the health professionals available on staff so that we can deal with health emergency situation,” he stated.