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Thursday 23 May 2019
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St James unit to be ‘mini oncology’ centre

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh addresses the House on Friday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh addresses the House on Friday. PHOTO BY KERWIN PIERRE

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says with the termination of the contract for the National Oncology Centre at Mt Hope, equipment was being relocated to other facilities with the National Radiotherapy Centre, St James taking up the bulk of the work.

He was responding to a question in the House on Friday.

He said the contractor, Bouygues Batiment TT Construction Company, terminated the contract effective February 22, 2018.

“Currently the Ministry of Health is engaged in the final negotiation of claim settlement.”

He said given the termination of the contract, the ministry has developed a re-prioritised list of equipment to replace the proposed MRI and PET/CT, both investigative pieces of equipment originally intended for the National Oncology Centre, and to allocate them to the diagnostic imaging units in hospitals within the RHAs.

“This re-purposed initiative will serve to replace existing equipment which is nearing the end-of-life cycle at the various hospitals. Additionally, this would provide significant benefits to the respective catchment populations in meeting a critical need for additional and modern diagnostic imaging technology, while still achieving the original mandate of the initiative to address the burden of cancer in TT through effective screening and early diagnostic of disease.”

Deyalsingh then provided a list of equipment which has been installed and which was to be installed at the National Radiotherapy Centre in St James and at facilities in the other RHAs.

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal asked why the contract was terminated but Deyalsingh replied it was before the “powers that be” for arbitration and he would not like anything he said to influence the arbitration.

Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh asked if what was supposed to be a National Oncology Centre was no longer going to be there.

Deyalsingh responded: “The St James facility will now be providing the bulk of services.”

He added: “That centre, for want of a better term, will be a ‘mini-oncology centre.’”

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