HEALTH Minister, Dr Fuad Khan, yesterday unveiled plans to upgrade the Port-of-Spain General Hospital to become “a medical campus”, with teaching and research facilities, plus a children’s unit, and to be a base for medical tourism.
The changes will be funded by a British concessional loan, he told yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), St Clair.
Retired British doctors will come here to help develop the new PoSGH into a “teaching hub”, all in liaison with the Royal Medical Society, said Khan. “Not only are we going to satisfy the medical needs of Trinidad and Tobago, but we are also looking at developing a system where people from all over the world can come to Trinidad and Tobago and do research and development.”
He said PoSGH has an infrastructure problem, and this upgrade proves the Government is not neglecting the capital city. The hospital upgrade will spill over onto a piece of land opposite the hospital, he said, where residential units and offices will be located, plus a skywalk over Charlotte Street to the main hospital site. The upgrade will include the relocation of the Ministry of Health offices to be adjacent to the PoSGH, plus the construction of a multi-storey carpark.
An MOU was signed on October 28 with the British Government, he said, to help the upgrade.
The new hospital will also have an adult hospital, women’s hospital, intensive care unit, high-dependency unit, accident and emergency units, a same-day surgery centre, a specialised surgical suite, a chemotherapy outpatient unit, a haemo-dialysis unit and several units for specialist treatment.
The latter includes neuro-surgery, paediatrics, cardiology, haemotology, and forensic pathology. The campus will also have a diagnostic centre offering services including MRI, CT scan, fluoroscopy and mammography, plus a cardiac catharisation lab. “There will be a specialised eye centre called the Institute of Eye Care,” Khan said. “In addition to that we will also have what we call an International Training Centre, and educational facilities.” He distanced his plans from previous proposals to a PoSGH upgrade by Johns Hopkins University. The current upgrade is planned by his Ministry and the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
He said the “heritage area” of the existing hospital would be kept, but any derelict buildings around the premises would be demolished. “Right now we are doing seismic studies on the central block; it may be kept, or it may not be kept. It depends on the overall plan that comes forward from the design.”
Khan could not estimate the cost of the upgrades.