Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says he has been eliminating corruption, waste and mismanagement in the procurement of drugs, non-pharmaceuticals and services in the health sector and has saved Government hundreds of millions of dollars.
The reduction of the contract sum by $200 million for the construction for the Arima Hospital and the reduction of the contract sum by $300 million for the Point Fortin Hospital, he said, were done by “renegotiating UDeCoTT (Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago) fees.”
Deyalsingh spoke on the Arima Hospital’s contract yesterday in the House of Representatives during the budget debate in response to Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bisessar’s concerns about the reduction of the contract by $200 million.
“On coming into office we looked at the contracts for Arima and Point Fortin hospitals. Without touching one square foot of space, without decreasing capacity by one bed, or by not decreasing one square foot of construction space, this Government was able to reduce the overall cost of both facilities by $500 million.”
On the purchase of non pharmaceuticals, especially for those who would want to access orthopedic surgeries, Deyalsingh said hospitals could not perform the amount of orthopedic surgeries for patients because RHAs buy orthopedic supplies from third parties.
When he became minister, he said, he found that four RHAs, North West, North Central, South West and, to a lesser extent, Eastern, collectively spent $26 million out of their allocations just buying bolts, pins and plates.
He said he went online and a four-inch by five-inch titanium plate cost US$18 from the same manufacturer from which the RHAs secured them through third parties at a cost of TT$5,800 (US$830). This screw online from the same supplier is US$3.50 and it was procured locally at a cost of TT$600 (US$87).
“This is why we can’t perform enough orthopedic surgeries in our public health system. We are being ripped off,” he said.