AFTER months of anticipation, members of the public finally have access to the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Yesterday was the first day patients were allowed to visit the hospital for treatment and clinical appointments.
The San Fernando Teaching Hospital is an extension of the San Fernando General Hospital. The two buildings are linked by a skywalk.
The outpatients clinics have been shifted from the old building to the new. Registration for those clinics have also been moved. Two clinics have remained in the old facility—the eye and the ear, nose and throat (ENT) clinics.
It was a significant day for the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) since the San Fernando Teaching Hospital was the largest project to be undertaken for SWRHA.
The 18-storey building at Chancery Lane was the centre of controversy under the past administration. But, with millions of dollars more being spent on its renovation and completion, it was transformed from an administrative complex to the hospital.
The reception area is on Level Three and the clinics are located on levels, four, five and six. A pharmacy and x-ray department are on Level Five.
SWRHA’s chief executive officer Anil Gosine and SWRHA’s chairman Dr Lackram Bodoe toured the hospital yesterday.
Also visiting was Jearlean John, chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (UDeCOTT) which was responsible for the hospital’s transformation.
Gosine said from as early as 6.30 a.m. patients began arriving for their 8 a.m. appointments.
However, he said a block appointment system was being reintroduced and if patients followed it, they will have less waiting time.
He said: “Patients should not come in early if they have appointments later on in the day. If all patients come in at 8 o’ clock, they will have a challenge for seating. What the block appointment does is that it gives appointments every hour. It will ease up on parking facilities and also on patients waiting long to be attended.”
The system was tried before in the old building but patients still kept arriving at an early hour. He said he hoped they will be more informed and come in at the times when their appointments were due.
Gosine said he was pleased with yesterday’s opening.
“We did not have much problems. Everything seems to be running smoothly. Most patients are happy with the facility and the service,” he said.
Security has been beefed up at the facility.
The SWRHA will be providing a shuttle service from the San Fernando General Hospital Outpatient’s Department to the drop off point at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital for the month of February.
Gosine said: “That is just to make sure that if anybody comes across by error, they are shuttled across to the new facility.”
And there are parking spaces for 150 vehicles at the new building, he said, adding that this will be increased to 400. Persons wishing to continue using the car parks in the old hospital and walk across to the new can continue to do so, he said. —SAW