Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh poses for a photo with registered nurses during a visit to the San Fernando General hospital on Tuesday. – Photo by Jeff K. Mayers
HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is confident that the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) will be fully refurbished and modernised by 2025.
He expressed this confidence to the media during a visit to the SFGH on Tuesday.
Deyalsingh reminded the media that a sum of $34 million has been allocated in the public sector investment programme (PSIP) for the current fiscal year to improve the infrastructure and facilities at SFGH, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and the Port of Spain General Hospital.
He said additional money will be placed in the PSIP for the next fiscal year to continue those works.
Deyalsingh directed the media’s attention to the plethora of scaffolding on site at the SFGH to show that the upgrade of the hospital has already begun.
That work, he continued, included replacing the roof tiles and modernising the wards.
“It (SFGH) is going to be a world class facility in the next two years.”
Deyalsingh lamented that all three hospitals had fallen into disrepair over the last few decades.
He reiterated that by 2025, SFGH “is going to be totally refurbished modernised and it will result in a better delivery of health care services.”
Deyalsingh identified better environments for patients and higher motivation for staff as two other benefits to come from a modernised SFGH.
Acting South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) CEO Stephen Alleyne elaborated on the work taking place at the hospital.
He said the wards on the 3rd floor of the hospital have been decanted, work has started on that floor and is gradually moving down one floor at a time.
Alleyne said the new hospital will have better labour, antenatal and postnatal wards.
The quality of the SFGH’s 700 bed stock will be improved, the entire hospital will be air-conditioned and further expansions will be made to its accident and emergency (A&E) department.
Deyalsingh said this department was already expanded five years ago to treat patients who did not require hospitalisation.
He was confident that the Augustus Long Hospital (ALH) , which was “gifted” by Heritage Petroleum Ltd to SWRHA, will be operationalised as the SFGH’s new oncology centre next June-July.
Deyalsingh said the existing oncology facility at SFGH left a lot to be desired for patients and their families.
He added that a palliative care unit will also be established at ALH for cancer patients in end of life stage.
Deyalsingh said situations of end of life cancer were difficult ones for patients and their families.
This unit, he continued, would function similar to one at the Caura Hospital which helps these patients to live out their final moments in dignity.
Deyalsingh also recalled that the new Point Fortin Hospital adds an additional 106 beds to the SWRHA’s bedstock.
He said this hospital will treat patients in the entire southwest peninsula of Trinidad, including Cedros and Icacos.
Deyalsingh added that no country in the world builds hospitals in under-populated centers because it is not cost efficient.