PM: No date yet on opening of Couva Hospital
Government is still in talks with medical service provider InterHealth Canada and has no set date as yet for the launch of the Couva Hospital.
Speaking in response to questions put forward by Chaguanas East MP Fazal Karim in Parliament on Thursday, Dr Rowley said that discussions between government and InterHealth Canada are ongoing and therefore he would not yet be able to give a date.
"Discussions are underway to establish an arrangement where that hospital would be made available for use for nationals, regional and international clients. Those discussions are well underway between the government, the University of the West Indies and InterHealth Canada."
Dr Rowley said InterHealth's participation is by way of an arrangement with the Canadian government.
"These discussions are currently underway and I'm not now in a position to give any specific date as requested," he said.
In response to a question by Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe on the use of local doctors and other local staff, Dr Rowley said this would be decided based on the outcome of the discussions.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert noted in his mid-year budget review however that hospital remains a part of government's overarching plan for health tourism.
"Our hospital progamme is well underway, including our drive to enter the area of health tourism. To that end, and in collaboration with the Government of Canada, we are rebranding the Couva Medical and Multi-Training Facility as a first world hospital and medical training facility."
"We have now secured an international operator for the Facility: Interhealth Canada. The facility would be jointly-owned by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of the West Indies."
"In the interim, the Government of India is offering opportunities to healthcare professionals to contribute to training at the facility by teaching traditional Indian medicine," he said.
In addition, Imbert said a number of other health facilities are in the works:
- the Point Fortin Hospital is expected to be completed in 2019. It would make available 100 beds to service up to 100,000 of citizens in the south-west peninsula;
- the Arima Hospital is expected to be completed in 2019. It would make available 150 beds to service up to 150,000 of citizens in the northeastern district including D’abadie, La Horquetta, Malabar and Arouca
- the Port of Spain Central Block should begin construction as in 2018 and on completion provide 540 beds to service up to 500,000 of citizens in North Trinidad.
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