Al-Rawii: $12m refurbishment for San Fernando hospital

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and SWRHA CEO Dr Brian Armour look at the progress of refurbishment work at the San Fernando General Hospital on March 9. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Some $12 million is to be expended on the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) which is being viewed as an anchor for local economic development and to create economic spaces for the private sector to capitalise on, Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi said on March 9.

He said his ministry is working together with the ministries of Health, Planning and Development and Youth Development and National Service to realise this vision.

Al Rawi attended the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) International Women’s Day celebration at the hospital on Saturday.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) for 2024, $30 million has been set aside for the refurbishment of three legacy hospitals, namely SFGH, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, and the Port of Spain General Hospital. SWRHA CEO Dr Brian Armour gave an overview of the refurbishment exercise to be undertaken to preserve the architecture of the old colonial hospital while modernising it as the same time, bringing it on par with the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.

Armour said a new roof will envelop the entire hospital.

Both the exterior and some parts of the interior are to be repainted and both Al Rawi and Deyalsingh engaged in a ceremonial repainting exercise in the lobby of the SFGH.

Apart from painting and roof replacement, Armour said there will be new roads and drains, beautification of six area, plus modernisation of the wards.

Derelict building no longer in use will be demolished which will make way, according to Al Rawi, for the creation of economic spaces for the private sector.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Rural Develpment and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi paint a wall at the San Fernando General Hospital on March 9. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

He said thousands of people pass through the hospital daily, yet there are no places for patients or visitors to eat or sit while they wait, neither are there any trees to experience peace and calm.

Critical of the areas where doctors and nurses have to eat, Al Rawi promised that soon, they will have a “lovely food hall.”

“In the next couple of weeks, we will roll out a massive number of projects. In San Fernando, we have done an aerial view of the SFGH and divided the campus in what is being used and not being used.

“We have committed it as an anchor of the redevelopment of San Fernando and together with the local government reform, to build economic spaces, we are going to utilise the entire campus.”

He promised that development plans are also in the pipeline for High Street, Mucurapo Street, Harris Promenade, Coffee Street and Cipero Streets.

Economic spaces are also in the works for all HDC developments.

“Imagine 2200 people living in one space and there are no barbers, no hair dressers, no grocery, no economic space. That is called LED (local economic development), part of the local government reform to bring to life the economic redevelopment of our country.”