Minister of Health and Wellness, Mary Isaac, welcomed her colleague Cabinet Ministers led by Acting Prime Minister, Guy Joseph, on a tour of the Owen King-EU Hospital last Friday for their first familiarization tour of the facility.
The Cabinet ministers were met by management and nursing heads from the Victoria Hospital and the Commissioning Team for the OKEUH, who took the ministers on an extensive 3-hour tour of the facility.
Isaac said that Cabinet is acquainting itself with what the hospital has to offer to the people of St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean.
“Sometimes people are skeptical about big projects like that and until you actually see it you cannot understand the stage that it is at. So, the tour is really to show the ministers the status of the hospital, how much of it has been completed, at what stage is the equipping the hospital is and how feasible it may be to meet the deadline that we have set at the end of November,” Isaac said.
Commissioning Director for the Owen King-EU Hospital, Dwight Calixte, said the hospital is near completion and the past months have seen the installation of a number of long-awaited pieces of equipment in all areas of the facility.
“From A&E down to Maternity and to the wards, everything has been equipped. We have also started the initial certification of the building in terms of electrical. We have done our water testing. We have started our testing of the air quality. So we are looking at establishing all of the particular standards. Outstanding is the testing of our gases which we are already on top of. What we have to do at this particular juncture in reference to the gases is to engage a certified company to get that done and we were looking at a company out of Martinique to do so.
So for now we are at completion with the exception of our labs; every piece of equipment for the hospital has been brought in. All that is necessary with respect to the move is transferable equipment that is going to come in from Victoria Hospital so that we have a complete suite of services within the new hospital,” Calixte said.
Joseph expressed his gratitude to the staff for facilitating the tour which, he said, places the Cabinet of Ministers in a better position as to the way forward for the new hospital.
“There are some decisions we must make in relation to the hospital moving forward. As far as opening time, whether we are going to do a partial opening or a full opening of the hospital, I don’t think it’s a decision we could have made in isolation, by not actually seeing where we are with the hospital and what needs to happen. So, it’s on this basis that we are carrying out this tour today so that everybody can be aware so that there is an appreciation by all the Cabinet Ministers as to where things are at so we can make a decision from an informed position rather than what we are told,” Joseph explained.
The Acting Prime Minister also shared his impressions of the Owen King EU Hospital.
“Very impressive! It is a state-of-the-art facility, the services that are available here, the equipment that is there, I think, are going to put us on the cutting edge of providing the real kind of health service that is required. The health needs of not just the people of St. Lucia but the sub-region as well. It can put us in a position where for every major situation we don’t necessarily have to fly our people to Martinique, Barbados or Trinidad, that we can provide some of the much-needed services right here in St. Lucia,” Joseph said.
The Government of St. Lucia has expressed its eagerness to have the Owen King-EU Hospital and the St. Jude Hospital opened and available to the people of St. Lucia in the soonest possible time.