On Wednesday February 10th the Governor General of Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, received a personal tour of the New National Hospital, soon to be known as the Owen King EU Hospital at the official naming ceremony on Sunday February 21st.
The naming of the hospital forms part of the activities marking Saint Lucia’s 37th Anniversary of Independence.
At the commencement of the tour the Governor General was presented with copy of the 2016 Millennium Heights Medical Complex Calendar by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Conitha Thomas who was among a team of officials from the Ministry present to receive the Governor General.
The nearly two hour shortened tour of the facility allowed Dame Pearlette to see first-hand some of the key areas within the new hospital which are not present or significantly improved when compared to the Victoria Hospital.
Areas such as the Pediatric Ward, Special Baby Care Unit, Central Sterilization Services Department, Physiotherapy Department, the state of the art Operating Theatres, Expanded A&E Department, Radiology equipped with the latest technology such as mammography and MRI equipment, the Intensive Care Unit among other areas.
“Very impressive” was how the Governor General described the facility at the end of the tour. She noted her pleasure in being invited to this tour which ended her speculation of what the structure would look like and the type of equipment within it.
“It is a very impressive building and my fervent hope is that we keep it as functional as it is and as anticipated. I can look and see that it is an expensive undertaking but just to keep it running it’s going to be as expensive I suspect. Everybody I met the nurses were very excited and I made the point the them, I said I hope in the next year or two you are as excited as you are today and they all promised that they would be and they are really looking forward to it. So I am glad I had that opportunity and I can say to the whole of Saint Lucia and the region that we have indeed a first class health facility.”
Dame Pealette added that she has been to other facilities in some developed countries and the New National Hospital in her view ranks right allow side the best of them. “My fervent hope really is that we can keep it and maintain it and deliver the type of healthcare that that we all deserve.”
Commissioning Director for the New National Hospital, Dwight Calixte said, the tour by the Governor General marks the next phase of public awareness for the hospital. Moving forward grouping such as Staff Associations, the Chamber of Commerce, Schools round the island, the Medical and Dental Association and the media will be invited to tour the facility to get a first-hand view of the offering of the new hospital.
“We must stop looking at this as a Ministry of Health thing this is a national thing and we want to encourage persons to come in at the appropriate time and we are going to bring them around and let them see this facility. The Governor General did indicate that this is second to none and it actually is and over the period of time we will let person see that. Until then we are going to manage the flow because we want to ensure that the facility remains intact before the opening.” Calixte stated.
Calixte also spoke about some of the procurement procedures with regards to the timing in bring in some key pieces of equipment particularly the dialysis units which he says are not yet on island. The new state-of-the-art Dialysis Unit was also among the areas visited by the Governor General.
“It has to do with quality of service. Right now we have no dialysis machines because these machines must be brought in just in-time. So they must go into use once the reach and right now the facility is going through testing. If we engage in commissioning something like this at this point in time there is going to be a risk to our patients. Risk to the quality of service that we offer” Calixte highlighted.
He stated that the machines will be brought in one or two months after the entire system has been tested which includes the water and electrical systems. Only then can the dialysis units be commissioned. “It has to do with the quality of service that we provide and ensuring patient safety, which is the number one priority at this point in time.” Caxite explained.
The European Union funded both the construction and equipping of the Owen King EU Hospital, an ultra-modern treatment and care facility to the tune of $167 million Eastern Caribbean dollars. The new hospital is the largest infrastructural project ever executed by the European Union in the Eastern Caribbean.