South West Regional Authority CEO Dr Brian Armour at the rededication ceremony of the Point Fortin Hospital on Saturday. – Lincoln Holder
FROM Monday, the Point Fortin Hospital will be reopened with its full suite of medical services available to the public, almost one year after it was designated a covid19 facility.
South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) CEO Dr Brian Armour said the resumption of full services at the 110-bed state-of-the-art facility will be a relief for residents of the St Patrick West community cluster, commuting from villages such as Icacos, Chatham, Cedros La Brea, Guapo, Erin and Granville to a shorter and more comfortable route to it rather than to the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH).
Many horror stories were recorded, including the delivery of a baby in a car, as residents had to make their way to access medical care in San Fernando.
“As we stand here now today, hopefully SWRHA will stand on the favourable side of the history books, given we are on the eve of the full suite of in-person and outpatient clinic services being fully restored from Monday, March 14 at 8 am,” he said at the rededication ceremony on Saturday.
“In this recent past and upcoming future reality, known to our healthcare worker heroes, we all admit there were, and may still be some challenges along the way, but the SWRHA and by extension the leadership and staff at the Point Fortin Hospital will not only persevere, but will simply never quit.
“We at SWRHA profess here today that the indomitable spirit of optimism and community support of the people of Point Fortin and corporate social partners resident in Point Fortin, in particular Heritage Petroleum and the office of the MP, greatly assisted the SWRHA to preserve our regular services in the midst of the covid surge, and we look forward to continue this partnership as we all transition back to regular services at the Point Fortin Hospital.”
He said there were many painful and sobering moments over the last two years as many people lost their lives due to the pandemic.
“SWRHA too, has lost a few of our valued, cherished, dedicated and committed staff to the devastations of the virus. However for today, take courage my friends as we move from the worst of the pandemic characterised of living initially in fear, to living in face-to-face combat with public health regulations, to now living alongside with covid19.”
He recognised and applauded the tenacity and faith of the entire organisation at all levels of staff.
At the Saturday’s ceremony, Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards Jr urged members of the public, “don’t act mad” as the facility comes on stream and a gradual relief from covid19 is being recorded.
He said people were angry when the modern facility, dubbed “the Hyatt”, opened in July 2020 but was handed over as a covid facility mere months after. He said the report of a baby being born in a vehicle as its mother made her way to the SFGH is forever etched in his mind. However, given the number of lives saved at the Point Fortin institution, he felt it was the best decision.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, who attended the ceremony, said half of the population has made up its mind not to take covid19 vaccines, as he lamented the lower daily numbers – between 200 to 300 – which have taken their first shots.