FOR THE PAST three weeks, the two CT scanners at the San Fernando General Hospital have been out of action, allegedly due to money woes experienced by the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).
Senior hospital sources told Newsday the unavailability of cash, estimated at over $500,000, to buy parts for the 16 - and 64 -slice scanners have been the major keepback, as the new service provider engaged by the SWRHA has demanded payment upfront. Staff, who wished not to be identified, said the unavailability of the scanners has greatly inconvenienced patients and doctors, who are unable to properly diagnose patients so as to treat and discharge them.
“Admin (the administration) has had shifting explanations as for the delay in fixing the machines. As a result, CT scans have not been available, causing major inconvenience to patients and long lines at the department. Urgent cases that can’t afford to go to a private nursing home are being taken to Mt Hope (Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex) via ambulance, if they can be accommodated at all,” a member of staff related. Several calls were made to SWRHA CEO Keith Mc Donald on Thursday and Friday, after the complaints. Mc Donald initially denied the machines were down. He said he was out of office at the time and told Newsday to call him back in an hour, when he would get back and check the facts. An hour and a half later he said he had just got back, was awaiting a report, and advised to call back. On the third occasion, a female voice answered his phone and said he had left the phone in the office as he was called into an urgent meeting. Several calls on Friday went unanswered.