HEALTH MINISTER Terrence Deyalsingh says the $121 million in additional funding received by his ministry in the mid-year budget review will be split two ways.
Some $10 million is for dialysis services via the External Patient Programme while “the other $111 million goes to the regional health authorities, in different amounts, for their trade payables and so on — settle up their debts and so on.”
Deyalsingh was speaking with reporters on Mother’s Day yesterday during a visit to the Maternity Department of the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH). Addressing plans to demolish and rebuild the hospital’s central block, constructed in 1952, he said government hopes to start construction in September.
“The expressions of interest went out in January (and) we received about eight. Based on that, around March, UDECOTT asked five companies to submit requests for proposal. That is now being done and we hope a contract could be signed to start the re-building of the central block by September of this year. (We’d) like to see construction completed as soon as possible.”
Deyalsingh also spoke about fake pharmaceutical drugs being sold in TT.
Citing increased vigilance at the nation’s air and sea ports, he said “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of drugs were seized at an airport in November last year.
The minister also gave an update on repair work at a historic building on Frederick Street which once housed the Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division.
“I got funding, I think it’s about $8 million, to restore the building — it’s an historic, listed building, so we had to do things in a certain way.
We have done that and the labs should be back up and running, before the end of the year. I visited (the building) up to late last year and the works are ongoing and they should finish soon,” Deyalsingh said.