No hurdle to hospital funds
Finance to build a new general hospital, estimated to cost over $800 million, will not be a challenge, and there will be no easing up in making the medical facility a reality, says Minister of Health Donville Inniss.
Inniss told the WEEKEND NATION he was satisfied with the level of interest being expressed by potential investors in the medical institution.
Last October, the Minister of Health announced that a new multimillion-dollar hospital would be constructed to replace the 47-year-old Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). He said three locations had been identified and Government was examining a “greenfield location”.
“We have had no shortage of entities that we have either written to or met with the ministry officials expressing interest in financing, design and even operating a new general hospital. I am satisfied that is not the major hurdle. It is not something we will be issuing a Press release on every week or every month.
“I wish to assure you that there is no easing up in making this a reality.
It is not a public relations exercise. It is what I am satisfied must be done in the best interest of this society and the delivery of optimal care for our citizens,” he said.
“We just need to quickly get to the stage where we go out to get tenders for those who would partner with us in the projects.
“But I need to make sure that we have all our ducks lined up, that we have the requisite staff in house that will manage it from the Ministry of Health and the Government’s perspective. So that is definitely working,” explained Inniss.
He said the ministry was in the process of getting its “team” together as they prepare to move forward with the construction of the facility.
“I expect we will get some further movement come the start of the next financial year. We are looking to strengthen the overall technical management division and the planning department in the ministry of health to adequately manage this new hospital project whilst at the same time, focusing on the upgrade of existing plants in the public healthcare system,” he said.
Inniss said he was pleased with the quality of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals on the island and, therefore, he did not believe the construction of a new medical facility would require any specially trained staff.
He also stated that with the advent of the new hospital, the QEH would not be allowed to fall in a state of disrepair as it continued to have “great potential”. He said while the Matindale’s Road facility would be put to “good use”, a decision on its future use depended on both the Ministryof Health and of Housing, as well as others.
The Minister of Health said over the coming weeks he would be meeting with The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), the Nurses Association and other health care professionals in an effort to discuss “any new concerns”. (MM)