HEALTH Minister Fuad Khan yesterday turned the sod to begin construction of the $1.2 billion Point Fortin Hospital at Egypt Village Point Fortin.
For many years, constituents of the south western peninsula have been waiting on a new hospital to be built and yesterday they turned out in their numbers to give full support. Not only are they getting a new hospital which is expected to be opened in January 2018 but the long awaited health institution has been relocated from Mahaica to Egypt Village.
“We are ready,” Khan said to loud applause from the audience, “the system is ready, we have the finance, we have the contractors on board, we are going to do this tomorrow, as we turn the sod we are going to build.”
Work on the hospital is expected to begin today as he stressed that his government has no intention of turning sod “every year for three years” and never get the project started.
He added, “The Honourable Prime Minister said no sod turning until we ready to build. Bill boards went up, the land was cleared we had to get the finance as well as the contractor.”
The project is being executed under a government to government arrangement between Trinidad and Tobago and Austria who were also involved in the construction of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Coming into office four years ago, Khan said he met no plans in place to build a new hospital in Point Fortin.
“When I came here in 2011 I saw the old Point Fortin Hospital in a state of total disrepair. I could not believe that the people of Point Fortin were putting up with that type of hospital for a very long time.”
The hospital will offer services in the areas of General Medicine, General Surgery, Psychiatry, Burns High Dependency, and Accident and Emergency Department. Khan said since coming into office, he had been constantly pushed by Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray and Point Fortin Member of Parliament Paula Gopee Scoon to build the hospital
The 170,000 square feet facility will provide 100 beds comprising 24 medicine beds , 26 general surgery beds, 10 gynaecology beds, 15 obstetrics beds, six psychiatry beds, 10 paediatric/adolescent beds, five burns bed and four high dependence beds.
He went on to say: “ People may say it is an election year and that is why we are opening a hospital, but a hospital takes between three to five years to conceptualise, develop and it is a good thing to do it before election, there is nothing wrong with that.” Also speaking yesterday was Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal who said Point Fortin Hospital will be built to stringent North American and internationally recognized codes and standards.
In her brief remarks Coudray hailed Persad Bissessar as the “biggest midwife” saying she has delivered what other governments had only promised.