MoH requests $34M to upgrade three public hospitals

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MoH requests $34M to upgrade three public hospitals

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has requested an allocation of $34 million to dealth with the promised upgrades at three of this country’s public hospitals over the next two years.

During a tour of the San Fernando General Hospital on Boxing Day, the Minister admitted that the hospitals have fallen into a state of disrepair.

However, he said he has requested from Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson an allocation of $34 million from the Public Sector Investment Programme for this fiscal year for the San Fernando General Hospital, Eric Williams Medical Science Complex and Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

Deyalsingh said San Fernando General, in particular, will be embarking on a much-needed total renovation and restoration, including replacing tiles and modernising the wards, to transform it into a world-class facility.

Noting that the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) is the largest in the country, Deyalsingh said it accounts for 32 per cent of the annual live births. Elated that there have been no maternal deaths so far this year, he said 3254 babies were born at the hospital to date.

The renovations at SFGH will not increase the number of beds, which already stands at 700 at the facility.

However, Deyalsingh reminded that the Point Fortin Hospital had increased bed capacity to the southern region, as did the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre which was gifted to the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) by Heritage Petroleum.

Deyalsingh said the Augustus Long Hospital is to be converted into a dedicated oncology centre, with modern equipment and comfort for cancer patients.

The first line of action will be to move the chemotherapy department to the facility in Pointe-a-Pierre, and then the rest of the services will ­follow.

“Those of you who have visited the old oncology area—I don’t even want to call it a wing—you would be as disappointed as I was when I first saw it.

“I pledged that I would do ­something about it, as that facility was not fit for its purpose. It was crowded, and the waiting area for patients and their families was not up to standard.

“Also for the first time, we are going to include a palliative care unit so that persons with end-of-life ­issues can spend their final moments in more dignity than they do now. We want to mirror the palliative care unit to the one in Caura.

“It is not easy for patients and families to deal with end-of-life cancer. We do such wonderful things in Caura that do not get the recognition it deserves. We are going to duplicate that in Augustus Long to have a dedicated oncology department,” he said.