Prime Minister Allen Chastanet continued his “Meet the Workers” tour with a visit to St Jude Hospital on Thursday.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Economic Affairs Minister Guy Joseph.
The tour is meant to provide the Prime Minister with greater insight into the challenges facing public servants on the island.
During his visit to St Jude, Mr. Chastanet walked the halls of the George Odlum Stadium, where the hospital is temporarily housed and personally engaged with the staff.
Senior Communications Officer, in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Mc Donald described the “Meet the Workers” tour as a platform discuss with the Prime Minister regarding issues affecting productivity.
St Jude Hospital CEO, Verna Charles said the staff was happy for the Prime Minister’s visit.
She said the institution was challenged from his mere presence, operating out of a stadium.
“One of our major challenges being at the stadium is just being at the stadium,” Charles said. “Not being able to have the proper equipment, adequate staff to provide the quality of services we would like to give to the people in the south of the island. But despite all these challenges we are still able to provide a full complement of services.”
Prime Minister Chastanet said he understood the frustrating being voiced by the hospital employees. He vowed to have hospital back to its former home within one year.
“I’m moved at the capacity of the people here and what they have done but I’m also sensitive to how frustrated they are. I’m also sensitive to the patients who clearly would sense some level of frustration.
He added: “There was a report that has been done on the way forward. I know that there’s been a meeting with the St Jude’s Board. There’s now a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in terms of how quickly we can get stuff started up again so we can try to get into the new hospital as quickly as possible. Certainly we’re not talking about a year. Idealistically, we would like to move in by the end of this year but I think the Minister is uncomfortable at this point of making that commitment. But certainly no less than one year we should be in that facility and if we can get it even quicker we will,” he stated.
St Jude Hospital has been housed in the George Odlum Stadium following a devastating fire on September 9, 2009.