“You have rooms that even beds can’t even pass by” – PM on new St. Jude Hospital

“You have rooms that even beds can’t even pass by” – PM on new St. Jude Hospital
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“You have rooms that even beds can’t even pass by. So unfortunately, the facilities are not ready to be moved into,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (inset photo) said.

While acknowledging the frustration of staff, patients and the public on the long delayed move to the new St. Jude Hospital facility, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said that the current situation will not change in less than a year and noted that some rooms were not built to specification.

The original St. Jude Hospital was located in Augier, Vieux-Fort but was destroyed by a fire on September 9, 2009, killing three patients. Since then, the hospital has been housed in the George Odlum Stadium, and that building has been deteriorating rapidly causing grave concern among staff.

Speaking to the media during a site visit as part of a “Meet the Workers Tour,” Chastanet said because the new site was not built to accommodate certain basic amenities of a hospital, it will be very difficult to facilitate the move faster.

“…A report that’s been made to Cabinet, unfortunately, a lot of the rooms were not built to specification. So for instance, even when we have rooms that are supposed to have operations in it, it was not designed to be able to put equipment in it. So even if we wanted to move in tomorrow, we couldn’t …. You have rooms that even beds can’t even pass by. So unfortunately, the facilities are not ready to be moved into,” he said.

Chastanet said Cabinet has been considering whether it can review the expectations of the new St. Jude Hospital regarding the number of beds it will provide, with a view to having the facility up and running sooner.

“We’ve really gone past the expiry date here in this facility. Can we downsize the expectations here so in terms of the number of beds? Prioritise some of the things – dialysis, the emergency ward, the operation room? Can we move in there and get those things functioning and meanwhile get some of the other things rectified ?”

The prime minister said that a report has been completed on a way forward.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (let) in a discussion with Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph (right) during a visit to St. Jude Hospital (Stadium) last week.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (let) in a discussion with Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Guy Joseph (right) during a visit to St. Jude Hospital (Stadium) last week.

“I know that there has been a meeting with the St. Jude’s Board. There is now a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in terms of how quickly we can get stuff started up again. So we can try to get into the new hospital as quickly as possible. And so certainly we are not talking about a year. Idealistically, we would like to move in by the end of this year, but I think the minister is uncomfortable at this point of making that commitment, but certainly no less than one year we should be in the facility, and if we can get it even quicker we will,” he said.

St. Jude Hospital serves an estimated 70,000 persons from six of the island’s 10 districts. Chastenat reiterated that he is aware of the frustrations faced by all those affected by the delay.

pm4“People are frustrated. It’s the age-old-dilemma, that when we have old buildings then things are not functioning and we’re waiting in hope of something new. And it’s very difficult for people who are having to deal with the deficiencies on a daily basis to understand why they have had to wait for so long. And so [are asking] if you are not moving into the new building then why can’t we fix what we have? And everybody is scared to fix what we have because everybody believes in the hope that we are moving into the new hospital tomorrow,” he said.

Chastanet added, “I wish I could just wave a magic wand. I wish I had the ability to just say let’s move into the building tomorrow but it’s not, unfortunately, left up to me or anybody else to be able to move into the building tomorrow.”

The prime minister said that after seven years it’s sad that the move is no closer to happening than it was before.

“Its very difficult; one – in terms of the amount of time that’s passed by [and] two – in terms of the amount of money that’s been spent,” he said.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. All the problem that Chastnet and his team is highlighting with St Judes can be solved with just 3 Coud Mei -3 set of voluntary work . I am willing to do voluntary work providing that Guy Joseph is made to pay the Million dollars investigation on St Judes . In Day one, we cut out all the doors that he said no bed can pass by , whatever that means . Day two we plaster and prepare framing for the doors and day 3, we mount up all the doors . Problem solve. And I know this will not cost 100 K . These Guys are taking Tax payer for a ride that they cannot afford.

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  2. St. Jude has provided us with an important lesson. The hospital was partially destroyed by fire and we immediately began to raise funds for its repair and restoration. We involved ALL school children, we involved churches, we involved social clubs. Above all, we involved our friends from the Republic of China on Taiwan, who immediately indicated their interest in reinstating the hospital. And guess what ? We decided that instead of renovating the burnt out section, we should build a brand new hospital. But we made absolutely no planning provisions for this development. So now, we are experiencing crippling pains of construction. May this never happen again.

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    • That can significantly escalate the cost for an already over budgeted project not only in labor cost but new configuration for doors. We know how much they can cost. Same thing happened with our four lane death trap (Gros Islet highway). Showed us that two trucks could go side by side and that was just a "flashing mirror."

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  3. Can't a wheelchair go through too? lol. SMH. I am guessing the next argument by the SLP would be "we couldn't finish St. Judes so why Chastanet can't complete it, he promised." Typical mad gospel to unsuspecting followers.

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  4. What Job?

    You are forgetting that the SLP did not draw up a plan for the hospital, so which job are you talking about?
    Remember that under King it was first thought to renovate, however after collecting more than anticipated it was decide to build a new one. King lost elections and it was left to these nitwits to draw a plan and execute the project. However, they the past PM took on a posture, "its in my constituency so we can milk it and the people won't protest since the heavy weights will get a contracts here and there to keep the mass quiet.

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  5. the slp govt signed many new contracts with the slp contractors just before the election and made them unfireable with large penalties. they wanted to screw the uwp and the people if they lost. getting thru that mess and the poor workmanship of those that were working has put this way behind. the motto of a lot of construction companies in st lucia seems to be work slow, do halfass work, and add useless work in order to keep the job going and ensure more pay. the last govt could not build a proper dog house. I hope after this is built kenny and his corrupt cronies are brought before the court before he can move to cuba. they really were a clueless bunch

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  6. It is worrisome when a country is unable to time manage civic projects. Does that mean it has to buy wholesale from abroad, managerial know how, materials, skilled workers, labourers and every damn nail! Is St Lucian an off the peg nation in every aspect of civic life and is this an acceptable state of affairs?

    In the past, other nations have benefited and continue to benefit from the labour of St Lucia’s intelligent, young, strong and fit individuals many of whom have contributed their life blood to the construction of buildings and services abroad. Why haven’t these skills filtered back and benefited St Lucia? It is high time St Lucia developed civic pride in its buildings and in its services.

    It is tragic that each change of government is an implosion which results in the effacing of projects or initiatives that have been started by the previous government so the country is always back to square one – no progress, no new job creation, no upliftment of the nation as a whole!

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  7. We must get to the bottom of the St.Jude hospital mismanagement , . Is it the planning responsibility , or the contractors' fault,.? When will lucians begin to take their critical affairs seriously ,? It is time people or companies pay for their reckless and greedy actions. === WAS THIS IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS OR PROFIT ,.

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  8. And youre telling me...ppl are not in jail...getting away with this mess...contractors involved should be demanded to complete the job...or PAY UP.

    (17)(0)

    • the Contractors didnt pay themselfs. They are not solely responsible a whole lot of people should be in jail!

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      • I know was just generalizing the idea of those responsible being free or prosecution And consequence.

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    • "And youre telling me...ppl are not in jail...getting away with this mess...contractors involved should be demanded to complete the job...or PAY UP."

      What Job?

      You are forgetting that the SLP did not draw up a plan for the hospital, so which job are you talking about?
      Remember that under King it was first thought to renovate, however after collecting more than anticipated it was decide to build a new one. King lost elections and it was left to these nitwits to draw a plan and execute the project. However, they the past PM took on a posture, "its in my constituency so we can milk it and the people won't protest since the heavy weights will get a contracts here and there to keep the mass quiet.

      (1)(0)

  9. I was wondering when someone would say the hospital was in Augier and not Vieux Fort.

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