Address by MHMC’s CEO, Dexter James, on Commissioning of Oxygen Plant

Millennium Heights Medical Complex announces successful commissioning of cutting-edge oxygen plant


Good morning, with established protocols in place, a warm welcome to all to the Millennium Heights Medical Complex. Today, we gather for a momentous occasion to commission the latest addition to our healthcare infrastructure – the Millennium Heights Medical Complex – Oxygen Plant.

This commissioning marks a pivotal step forward in our commitment to providing exceptional, People-Centered Healthcare services to our community. The establishment of this oxygen plant is not just the creation of a facility; it is a testament to our unwavering dedication towards improving the hospital infrastructure to ensure the provision of the highest standards of quality patient-centered care.

Before commissioning this plant, the OKEUH as the principal user of oxygen consumed in excess of 10,800 bottles a year, the equivalent of about 25-31 bottles a day.

This new plant has a capacity to generate a reliable and continuous supply in excess of 50-bottles of oxygen per day – nearly twice our average daily consumption.


So how did we get to this stage?

Firstly, our journey to this moment was marked by the supply of the physical oxygen generating plant by our parent Ministry, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, through its World Bank financed Health Systems Strengthening Project (HSSP). Our next stage in this project development involved the identification of a suitable building contractor to construct the oxygen housing and the sourcing of funding for the construction.

In that regard, tenders were invited selectively for the construction of the oxygen housing and of the four (4) submissions received, HL Construction Limited of St. Lucia was selected as the approved tenderer to execute these works at cost of USD$129,852 (XCD$311,982).

So how was this project funded?

In early October, a formal application for funding was made to a philanthropic organization, The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, a Registered Charity from Barbados and by December 14th 2022, my board was able to secure approval of funding in the sum of USD$129,851 (XCD$311,982) for the construction of the oxygen housing. This funding support marked the third stage in this project development. The general terms of this agreement include: (a) The right of the Trust to visit the hospital at any time to inspect the works; (b) The requirement for the OKEU to effect insurance coverage in relation to fire and other perils; (c) particulars of the project must be kept confidential unless required by law; and finally, (d) The OKEUH must meet any required shortfall in funding for the project.

Ladies and gentlemen, construction works for the oxygen housing commenced on April 24th, 2023, and by the 24th July 2023 (3-months later), H L Construction Limited completed the construction of the oxygen housing on time (within 3-months), within budget of XCD$311,982 and with the highest standard of quality workmanship. It would be remiss of me, if I didn’t recognize and especially thank Mr. Clive Antoine, our Plant and Facilities Manager and his project management team for providing the required project oversight that enabled this construction to be executed within budget and time constraints.

My Board recognizes that it cannot rely on the Government of the day to provide all the capital funding required to maintain and improve the physical plant at the Complex and have adopted Hospital Philanthropy as a viable option for sourcing funds to meet major capital investment projects, such as the commissioning of his oxygen plant. Within the first quarter of 2024, we will be establishing the first MHMC Trust as a special purpose vehicle for seeking out philanthropic sources of revenues to support major capital improvements and sustaining our health technology and technology refresh.

The final stage

Once these builder’s works were completed, the final stage of this project development was the technical commissioning of the oxygen plant. This was accomplished in late October 2023 by the onsite commissioning, start-up, and training executed by Acute Medical Gas (AMG) of the of the U.K.; however, while the system was able to produce hospital grade oxygen, a faulty sensor had to be replaced to ensure that the required safety standards were met. The company later returned between November 16-18 to replace the sensor and we are happy to report that the oxygen plant is now certified fit and safe for use in the production of hospital grade oxygen.

But while allow of this was taking place, the logical question that one may ask is:  how was the MHMC able to obtain and sustain the need for oxygen in settings such as our open wards, ICUs and operating theatres operations? The short answer is that there is yet another philanthropist here with us today – our own Windward Island Gases Limited. This company supported the country with all its oxygen needs through the very difficult period of the COVID pandemic and even today supplies the hospital with our daily consumption of approximately 25-bottles. With the commissioning this plant, does this mean that we will discontinue current arrangements for the supply of oxygen with Windward Island Gases. Absolutely not.

We will continue to procure oxygen from Windward Island Gases at significantly lower levels and focus our attention of our preserving the continued relationship by reducing the balance of outstandings to the company.

In early January 2024, we will meet with the principals and negotiate mutually agreeable orderly settlement of these outstanding balances. Thank you to WIG for this support to country and more specifically the MHMC during extremely difficult times.

In closing, my board would now like to present the prestigious MHMC Corporate Social Responsibility Award to the following companies.

However, permit me to elaborate in a few lines the notion of CSR. CSR is about sharing the economic value and sources of revenues created by organisations such as The Maria Holder Memorial Trust and Windward Island Gases in a fair way, across all relevant stakeholders such as the MHMC. One such CSR activity includes philanthropy which is: the donation of money to institutions, such as hospitals like the OKEUH that support patient care to the people of St. Lucia.

So, our first prestigious MHMC CSR Award in the category of Capital Development is given to The Maria Holder Memorial Trust for the provision of funding to support the construction of the oxygen housing and I now invite Ms Marie-Ange Symonds to receive the award on behalf of the Trust. (Minister to present)

The second award goes to Windward Island Gases Limited  in the category of Sustainability in Service Excellence and would ask Mr. Lucas Lubin, General Manager of Winward Island Gases Limited to receive the award on behalf of the company. (Chairperson to present)

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for taking time off from your busy schedules to attend this momentous occasion. We commit that in the face of unprecedented challenges at the Complex to lead the cultural transformation of the MHMC as a leader of healthcare excellence for the benefit of the resident population. Our vision is for the MHMC to be developed as:

The Best Place to Work…The Best Place to Receive Care…and The Best Place to Practice Medicine. I thank you!!

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