The Point Fortin hospital should be completed by May 2019 and fully operational by September 2019.
After the Prime Minister toured the hospital, Deyalsingh said the government had gotten a loan in June to finish constructing the hospital from an Austrian bank.
He said it was 65 per cent completed and should employ between 800 and 1,000 people when it is up and running. The hospital will have approximately 116 beds: 100 inpatient and 16 daycare beds. There will also be four operating theatres.
“We signed the loan with the Bank of Austria in June 2018. It meant the last administration started this project on an unsure legal footing. It was left to us to regularise that issue and put it on a legal footing in June 2018.”
Deyalsingh said the project was initially estimated at $1.5 billion but that was reduced by cutting Udecott’s consultancy fees, “without touching a square foot of the hospital and without taking out one bed.”
He said the project was expected to come in at around $940 million, “so well within budget and hopefully by May 2019.”
He said staff in all disciplines, such as security, administration, bio-medical, nurses, interns, house officers and consultants, would be required to run the hospital after it is fully operationalised.
Deyalsingh also touched on the controversial issue of Cuban doctors, reading an excerpt from a cabinet note dated October 7, 2010 by then health minister Dr Fuad Khan- “The departure of the serving Cuban health care professionals will undoubtedly create gaps in the health sector particularly in the areas of secondary care.”
“Could you imagine that, and it is now being portrayed to you that we are bringing in Cubans for the first time?” he asked.
“And this excerpt of the cabinet note is predicated on those going back in 2004 and 2009 to bring in Cubans. This has been a longstanding problem.”