Monday 18 March, 2019

Gopeesingh: Gov't 'reckless' for non-completion of Oncology Centre

Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh is calling on the Ministry of Health and the government to immediately reconsider its decision to remove the intended equipment for the National Oncology Centre, into various institutions.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Gopeesingh said the Dr Keith Rowley-led regime’s decision to discontinue the pursuit and construction of the National Oncology Centre is a “monumental medical disaster” for Trinidad and Tobago.

He said there are approximately 3,000 new cancer patients each year, with the disease being the number one cause of death amongst women and the second leading cause of death amongst men in Trinidad and Tobago.  Approximately 1,200 patients die annually from cancer.

Gopeesingh said abandoning this project is equivalent to neglecting cancer patients.

“In callously abandoning this extremely critical national project, the incompetent PNM regime has virtually forsaken cancer patients who deserve comprehensive and holistic management and care in an integrated medical facility and system.”

The Opposition MP said the Oncology Centre was earmarked as a modern and essential centre of excellence, up to first-world standard, utilising cutting-edge technology, with experienced and well-trained professionals.

He said the facility was conceptualized to provide universal cancer care through the provision of comprehensive services including prevention through education, early detection and an integrated system for Patient Care for the various types of Cancer.  

Gopeesingh claimed the decision to stop the development was reckless and made to look like it was due to a dispute with contractor Bouygues Batiment.

He said the removal of state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and advanced medical treatment equipment units to different locations will result in inappropriate, uncoordinated and incomplete Cancer Care Management at these various centres.

“This plan would not provide optimal benefit to patients, since the equipment was meant to be incorporated into a medical centre with a full suite of applicable services, with appropriate medical professionals.This careless, thoughtless and unscientific decision and approach taken by this administration, will result in the marked progression of disease of these patients, leading to no cure and subsequent death.” 

Gopeesingh said the Oncology Centre, which went through many years of decision-making by various governments, must remain as an urgent Health-Policy decision as a centre of excellence, not only for Trinidad and Tobago, but for the region, in the provision of excellent care for thousands of cancer patients, reducing significant morbidity and mortality for these unfortunate patients. 

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