Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will on Thursday officially tour the Chancery Lane Complex, site of the planned San Fernando teaching hospital.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, as well as chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) Jearlean John and chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Dr Lackram Bodoe, are scheduled to accompany Persad-Bissessar.
The Prime Minister had instructed that the Chancery Lane Complex be turned into a hospital. State-owned UDeCOTT was given the contract to complete the work on the building, which was started six years ago under the former People's National Movement (PNM) administration, at an initial cost of $296 million.
The San Fernando teaching hospital, an extension of the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), is expected to house the outpatient clinic, various wards, a diagnostic testing centre, a pharmacy, a laboratory and a lecture hall.
Speaking to the Express on Sunday by phone, Khan said this move will not only improve the health sector but will help stem the outsourcing to private hospitals.
"I am very happy that this is occurring. The University of the West Indies is going to have a presence there from internships to medical training of students to the development of specialty training," said Khan.
He said when medical professionals are trained at home it adds to the health sector rather than they having to migrate to acquire specialised training.
"I'm also trying to attract a medical school in this country from the United States or India, different places to enhance educational tourism together with medical tourism," said Khan.
He noted that this was done in Grenada and that island has "blossomed" because of this initiative.
"I think the modern way is to do away with general hospitals and to focus on complete specialised centres of excellence such as centres to treat with cardiac cases, eyes, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, haematology and so on," said Khan.
Last week Khan spoke about transforming the newly commissioned Scarborough Hospital into a teaching hospital as well. He said he intends to carry his proposals to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) for discussions.