Monday 6 July, 2020

Deyalsingh: Couva Hospital will be paying hospital

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said that the Couva Hospital will be a paying hospital.

Speaking at Thursday's post-Cabinet briefing, Deyalsingh said the only non-paying patients sent to the hospital will be at the request of government if there is no space at other public hospitals.

“Other decisions taken for this facility is that the special purpose company to be mandated to pursue the operationalisation of the Couva facility as a paying hospital open to the public, and the Ministry of Health will purchase goods and services, as we currently do with other private sector providers.

“If a patient needs to go there, if for some reason they cannot be accommodated in the public sector, if they have to go there we will pay for them,” he said.

Gov’t, UWI to form company to operationalise Couva Hospital

Deyalsingh said Government has agreed to set up a special purpose company which will be majority owned by the University of the West Indies (UWI), with government holding a minority share.

Deyalsingh emphasised that the hospital is not a children’s hospital as there are over 140 adult beds while there are only 80 children’s beds.

It is not a children’s hospital, that is a name given by the UNC to pull on the heartstrings of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Deyalsingh said the nominees for the seven-member Board so far are:

- UWI Principal Brian Copeland

- Professor Terence Seemungal, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the UWI,

- UWI Campus Bursar Andrea Taylor-Hanna

- Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram

- Senior Health Systems advisor at the Health Ministry, Stewart Smith,

- and a seventh member who will be nominated by the Ministry of Finance.

Deyalsingh said the Ministry of National Security will ensure that foreign students seeking training at the hospital will be given the requisite clearance to study there.

“Once this company is established we will explore the possibility of teaching in all hospitals throughout Trinidad and in Tobago for clinical rotations for both local and foreign medical students,” he said.

Deyalsingh said further to this, the Scarborough General Hospital will be declared a teaching hospital for this purpose.

More hospital beds coming

Deyalsingh emphasised however that government is currently expanding the current bed stock with a number of additions at hospitals throughout Trinidad and Tobago

“Currently our bed stock in Trinidad and Tobago is 2,998. That’s the total number of beds throughout our public health care system which are all free.”

He said coming on stream ‘very soon’ would be:

- an additional 61 beds at the Point Fortin hospital (in the first quarter of 2019)

- an additional 150 beds at the Arima hospital (second quarter of 2019)

- 140 additional beds at the new Central block of the Port of Spain General Hospital.

The only part of this which will be a fee-paying basis is going to be Couva if a patient in the public sector needs to access care there, we will pay for it.”

“This has the potential to dramatically change the landscape of the provision of medical services taxpayer I both the public and private sector. It also has the possibility and capacity of bringing research to Trinidad and Tobago, which will redound to the benefit of all of us,” he said.

Deyalsingh added that it was the vision of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that the UWI be included in this arrangement, which he said which will benefit taxpayers.


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