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Monday 22 July 2019
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$84m for new cancer facility

File photo: Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. 
File photo: Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD.

NEW state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator (LINAC) facility for cancer patients will be built in St James at a cost of $84.29 million, Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh announced yesterday.

Speaking during the sod-turning for construction of the facility which will be on the compound of the St James medical complex, Deyalsingh said radiology services play a central role in many areas of health care but mainly in the treatment of cancer.

He said his ministry has noted long-standing issues regarding the delivery of quality radiology services for cancer patients in TT. He said the device is most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. “For this reason, it is indeed a great honour to be part of this sod turning ceremony as it signifies the strides made to achieve improved healthcare for our citizens.

Through diligence and commitment from the board of directors and executives of the North West Regional Health Authority, the ministry is better able to serve its community and for this I say thank you, thank you, thank you,” Deyalsingh said.

He added that construction of the LINAC facility is a major achievement as this is the first such facility to be built locally in the public health sector.

He said the LINAC machine will therefore benefit the population by offering more targeted treatment for some tumours, allowing for the treatment of tumours located in sensitive areas, improving patient throughput, reducing waiting times, potentially minimising treatment related side effects, and it would have a positive impact on patient survival.

“Presently, the ministry spends $51,520 per patient to be treated privately.

Therefore the key benefit of this additional service will be the cost savings to the government, as this would dramatically lessen the referrals to the private facilitates,” the minister said.

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