THE Ministry of Health plans to construct two new hospitals — at a cost range of between $870 million and $1.2 billion — at Rio Claro and Sangre Grande, stated Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan.
The new hospital at Sangre Grande, Khan said, will be a “full hospital” which will come in addition to a planned extension of the current Sangre Grande Hospital at Ojoe Road. Khan said the new Sangre Grande facility is likely to cost between $800 million to $900 million.
“I am preparing to take this to Cabinet,” the Minister said. The new facility is expected to include CT and MRI scanners, clinics and a pharmacy. The Ministry this year tendered for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of medical equipment at the existing Sangre Grande Hospital. Khan also outlined plans for a new hospital at Rio Claro at a cost of between $70 million to $120 million.
“This is going to be a medical facility of a higher standard than a district health facility,” he said. “There have been calls for a hospital there for so long.” The minister did not state when he would approach Cabinet for approval but it is understood he may do so in coming weeks.
Khan’s disclosures come after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last week disclosed the State was seeking financial assistance to the tune of $1 billion from China in relation to a planned hospital at Arima.
Khan said, however, that the facilities at Rio Claro and Sangre Grande would be tendered to local contractors and are not subject to ongoing financing talks with the Chinese.
“There will be local financing and local contractors,” he said. The new projects are in addition to the ongoing Couva Children’s Hospital and Multi Training Facility, being constructed by a local subsidiary of the Shanghai Construction Group.
Another hospital project — the Point Fortin Hospital — has also been subject to negotiations with Chinese diplomats. Chinese firm China Railway Construction Caribbean last year handed over the Scarborough General Hospital at Tobago, a project which had been in limbo since 2007.