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Saint Lucia’s new National Hospital is far from being completed as works are still ongoing.
Health Minister Alvina Reynolds told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) in a recent interview that there is no clear indication as to when construction of the new National Hospital could be completed, despite engineers are working on a specific timeline, which was not disclosed.
In addition to that, the procurement of equipment will take some time before the new hospital could be commissioned and opened to the public.
“It is definitely stretching out more than we expected and of course we are trying in the meantime, to have all of our other facilities well strengthened, for example our health centres and polyclinics, so that we could ease the burden at the Victoria Hospital,” she said.
The health minister explained that the opening of the Dennery Hospital will also help to ease the burden on other hospitals and health centres. “I try not to give a promise of opening, because I am not a technical person and would go with what the engineers say… step by step I gather the project reports from the engineers and I always give a little more time,” she noted.
SNO was told that the process will be lengthy, especially since many procedures have to be done before the operation of the facility. Those procedures include testing equipment, training staff to use equipment – some of which have to be custom-built, ordered and installed. Staff also will have to be identified to fill positions at the new National Hospital.
The project started in January 2009. It comprises 200 beds and will be equipped for inpatients and principal diagnostic and therapeutic services. Once the hospital is opened, the Victoria Hospital will be decommissioned and reopened as the Castries Urban Polyclinic. When that happens, the Castries Health Centre will be closed permanently.