The Debe campus is set to come into operation for the upcoming academic year, but the integration of the Couva Hospital into the University of the West Indies medical faculty is still to be ironed out.
This was confirmed by UWI St Augustine Principal Brian Copeland, at his office at the UWI campus on Thursday.
"I would like it to open tomorrow, so we can get full use of it almost immediately. Every day it sits there it is basically a strain, as far as I am concerned, on the public purse. We are looking to see if we can ramp up with at least one of the units in the teaching facility come September. I am not so sure if it will work as yet because we have to put all of the pieces together first," said Copeland, who added it would be difficult to commit to an exact date for the opening for the facility to classes.
"The facility works as a whole so we can't just move into one part of it just like that. That's going to be trouble, so once we sort that out if we can get it, then September, if not by January of the next year then we will do so. But I don't want to make any commitment at this point in time."
The University has a 51 per cent stake of the company Couva Medical Multi-training Facility which oversees operations of the hospital but Copeland said there was also certain agreements that needed to be finalised with a still to be identified operator of the hospital.
The hospital's equipment would also need to be cleared for use before operationalisation.
"The hospital is fully equipped. Although I am told that depending on what you want to get into when you operate the hospital we might have to add more equipment. There is also a certification process which is required to start this hospital up. You have to go through the whole process of checking the equipment. It takes about six months, I understand, to go from zero to full operation," said Copeland concerning the status of the hospital.
Earlier during a media conference, UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said the University was very much intrigued by the potential of the hospital's integration into the University, with other countries seeking to create similar partnerships with other hospitals in Caribbean territories.
Copeland said despite a couple of delays on some buildings the Debe campus is expected to be opened with 500 students mainly from the faculty of humanities.