Health Ministry continues move from parallel to hybrid healthcare system

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Arima General Hospital. –

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has said the ministry is continuing its move from the parallel healthcare system, implemented to deal with covid19 patients, to a hybrid system as cases continue to go down.

Deyalsingh was speaking during the ministry’s covid19 virtual media conference on Wednesday.

He said the decommissioning of the parallel healthcare system started with the Point Fortin hospital. Now coming offline is the Arima Hospital, he said.

“When we made the announcement (about) the decommissioning of the Arima hospital, there were 35 patients there.”

He said the ministry had decided the best way to carry out the decommissioning was to stop admitting patients on a certain date, which for the Arima hospital was April 4. He said there are now 18 patients at the hospital.

“What’s unique about Arima is we use it as a national centre for dialysing covid19 patients who need to be dialysed.”

He said of the 18 patients at Arima, ten are on dialysis and eight are not.

“Those eight will be sent home when they are well.”

He said part of the medium-to-long-term strategy for the healthcare system is to move to a hybrid model and the Arima hospital is being used as a test case for that.

“In the interim, we’ve also maintained the Point Fortin area (hospital), Augustus Long, Couva, Caura, and St James strictly for covid19. We’re in no rush to get rid of the parallel healthcare system in its entirety. We hare being patient at the ministry (and) have a back-up capacity in case we get a spike or a new variant.”

Deyalsingh said all step-down facilities have been unoccupied for some weeks and the Tacarigua Racquet Centre and Debe UWI Campus have also been decommissioned.

“We are keeping the UTT Campus in Valsayn just in case something should happen and we need surge capacity for step-down usage.”

He also said he had noticed that the public are not wearing masks as they should.

“Coming into Port of Spain this morning, a lot of people are not properly masked, especially when they’re talking to someone.

“We want to encourage people: don’t forget masking.

“Washing your hands is (also) critical. These two measures are going to become important, because we are not socially distancing as before.”

He said while the ministry welcomes the mental health and economic benefits of reopening, people still need to be mindful that the virus is still active.

Deyalsingh also said the Sinopharm and J&J vaccines will expiring in May or June 2023, and the current stock of Pfizer will expire at the end of June.