Sitting under a tree in Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, secretary of Fisherman and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary Aboud made a tearful plea to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to mediate with
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180 foreign nurses for new South hospital
The $739 million San Fernando Teaching Hospital has been commissioned but it will take another few weeks before 180 nurses can be flown in from Cuba and St Vincent to work at the facility. So said Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan during the opening of the hospital. The new hospital, which connects the San Fernando General Hospital, via a skywalk bridge, has been dedicated to maternal, child-care and paediatric outpatients. Khan said the additional 216 beds at the new facility would effectively deal with overcrowding at the San Fernando General Hospital, bringing the overall bed space to 866. He also said there were 26 doctors’ on-call rooms and lecturer rooms specifically designed for teaching and interactive learning. Boasting that T&T will soon begin developing educational and medical tourism, Khan said he intended to bring retired specialist medical officers from abroad to train young people. “We will determine what specialities are needed worldwide and we will use this cadre of specialist doctors to boost medical tourism in T&T,” he added.
He said the Ministry of Health already had visited Cuba and identified nurses who were willing to come to T&T to work. “We intend to bring 120 nurses from Cuba and 60 from St Vincent. We are also training nurses at El Dorado Nurses Academy and we will be training enough medical nurses to cater to our needs,” he added. Chairman of the Southwest Regional Health Authority Dr Lackram Bodoe also vowed that overcrowding would be a thing of the past now that the new hospital had been commissioned. He said the first patients would be brought in by late next month or early March. Meanwhile, Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim said a Masters in Forensics Degree would begin at the hospital from September. “The Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, St Augustine, will like to take a proactive role in strengthening the criminal justice system and bolstering the efforts of the Government in crime detection and eradication, through the launch of a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science,” Karim said. “This programme is envisaged to be a multi-disciplinary professional programme which incorporates physical and biological sciences, criminal investigation, psychology and law to provide a comprehensive understanding, professionalism and a skilled approach to the evidentiary process in crime,” he added. The minister said UWI would collaborate with the School of Forensic and Investigatory Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, with respect to its laboratories and teaching expertise to deliver the programme.