The Government is moving full speed ahead to ensure the delivery of health services at the Sangre Grande, Arima and Point Fortin hospitals, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has said.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair on Thursday, Khan said the financial allocations were approved by Cabinet for the expansion of some hospitals and the construction of others.
With respect to the Sangre Grande Hospital, Khan said that facility will be expanded to an extended-care unit at a cost of $65 million, which will bring improvement to the physical plan and equipment.
He said the expansion will house 32 additional beds, new clinical areas, treatment rooms, conference facilities, doctors lounge, among others.
Construction is expected to begin next month.
In addition, Khan said a new state-of-the-art diagnostic centre will be developed as a two-storey structure. He said this centre will conduct its own MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound and more, and will service part of Arima and the East-West Corridor as well as Rio Claro and Mayaro.
He said $100 million was approved and this should increase to $107 million when project-management and consultancy services are included.
Khan said Cabinet approved the $1.8 million budget for the 150-bed Arima Hospital, which will cater for general medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics, accident and emergency and other units. He said the sod for this project will be turned next month.
Khan added the 100-bed Point Fortin hospital will be delivered and it will be constructed under a government-to-government arrangement with the Austrian government.
Khan said the ministry was also working on bringing in the required human resources to staff these hospitals and this month will go to St Lucia to interview and recruit some 50 registered nurses.
When questioned, Khan said there were some delays with the national oncology centre, but part of it will be opened in April 2015.