|Arima to get $1.8B hospital |
ANDRE BAGOO Friday, August 15 2014
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Dr Fuad Khan ...
THE CABINET has approved a budget of $1.8 billion for the planned Arima hospital, Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan stated yesterday.
The Minister also announced a sum of $68 million would be spent on an extension of facilities at the Sangre Grande hospital and a new $172 million diagnostic centre is expected.
Khan also stated about two dozen nurses are expected from St Lucia amid ongoing shortages in that sector; and disclosed that an audit of the system of pharmacies falling under regional health authorities is underway in light of complaints of shortages of state-subsidised drugs.
The Minister also said while there had been “a little delay” with the planned National Oncology Centre, the unspecified issue has been “ironed out” and the centre is expected to open in April.
Addressing a Cabinet media briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister St Clair, Khan said the Arima facility will contain 150 beds, and the old Arima Health Facility developed. He said he hoped to turn the sod in September for the project, the contractor of which was previously announced as China Railway Construction Corporation. Khan also stated Udecott had completed a due diligence process in relation to the firm, which was chosen according to the terms of a government-to-government arrangement with China.
In relation to Sangre Grande hospital Khan said there had been 70 percent and 20 percent increases in demand for orthopaedic services and oncology respectively.
The $65 million extension would involve 32 additional beds, including 16 in oncology, 16 in orthopaedic services, treatment rooms and a digital X-Ray room. Temporary relocation of existing facilities would cost $350,000 he estimated.
The new diagnostic centre would seek to address the concern that there are 800,000 patients served annually, yet only one CT or MRI machine at some facilities.
In relation to the shortage of drugs, he noted there has been a “break-down of communication” in relation to the system used to manage the process.
However, he insisted regional health authorities have long been told that where there are shortages, they are authorised to replenish stocks directly.
“If there is a shortage of any drugs, they can go ahead and purchase on their own,” Khan stated.
He said while audit of the system had been put in place, in the interim he would once more speak to the heads of the regional corporations to make sure the policy of allowing purchases which has been handed down, is conveyed once more. He also alluded to plans for a 100-bed Point Fortin hospital.