After seven years of ongoing construction, the once mothballed complex on Chancery Lane, San Fernando will be opened later this week for outpatient clinics from the San Fernando General Hospital. Yesterday South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) CEO Anil Gosine, told the T&T Guardian that Thursday has been set as a tentative opening date for the outpatient clinics at complex which will serve as an extension to the overcrowded hospital.
Gosine, who got together with charity group Friends of the Hospital to spread Christmas cheer at SFGH yesterday, said the commissioning of the outpatient services is the first step in utilising the building. The complex, which was started under the former Patrick Manning-led regime, was initially earmarked as an administrative building to house Government ministries in the second city.
However, last year the People’s Partnership Government ordered that the multi-million dollar complex be remodeled for use as a teaching hospital and an extension to the overburdened SFGH. The building is still undergoing construction and is expected to be completed in 2013. Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar is expected to formally commission the new services at the complex.
This week a spanking new sign stating San Fernando Teaching Hospital was put up at the front of the complex. Gosine said the outpatient clinics to be opened at the complex include, maternal and child health, pediatrics, adult medicine and the ENT and Eye clinic. “The ENT and eye clinic will expand. Right now they share clinics and different days. They will have bigger clinics in the Chancery Lane building which is (part of) the San Fernando General Hospital,” he said.
Gosine said the teaching school will be under the authority of the University of the West Indies Faculty of medicine which will deliver postgraduate and undergraduate studies. Last year Udecott Chairman Jerlean John, in announcing the new use of the complex, said the building would be a retrofitted 468,000 square feet Medical Complex with 216 Beds; Paediatric Wards; Adult Wards; Children's and Adult Outpatient, Mother and Child, Porter Services; Functional Diagnostics, On Call Room; Lecture Rooms; Administrative Offices, Retail Space and Parking Lots.
Last June when Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal toured the complex he estimated that the total cost of the re-modification of the complex would be $1 billion. Moonilal had told reporters last year that $465 million had been spent so far. The construction of the complex began six years ago and with an initial budget of $296 million. The project stalled in 2010.