The South West Regional Authority (SWRHA) has confirmed that the two CT Scan machines at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) are still not working.
In a statement the SWRHA said it was working “assiduously” to have the machines repaired soon and encouraged patients to utilise the authority's customer service hotline if they had concerns.
“The Authority currently has two CT Scan machines, a 16-slice machine and a 64-slice machine, one of which is still on warranty. Unfortunately, both malfunctioned within a short time frame. The SWRHA has been working assiduously with the supplier to ensure that both machines are repaired in the shortest period of time.
"In the interim, the organisation has made every effort to mitigate the situation by ensuring in so far as reasonably possible, that patients in urgent need of scans are accommodated at other public health facilities where this service is provided,” the statement read.
The SWRHA said the parts required had been procured and were expected to be delivered and installed in the upcoming days. It said repair works in respect of the 64-slice CT scan machine was estimated to cost $100,000 and not $500,000 as stated in a Newsday article. There will be no cost to the SWRHA to repair the 16-slice machine.
The authority also apologised for any inconvenience caused and encouraged patients to utilise its customer service desk or customer service hotline at 87-SWRHA (79742) to have any concern or suggestion addressed.
Last week, hospital staff said the machines had been down for more than three weeks at great inconvenience to patients and doctors who were unable to fully diagnose and treat ailments.
Former SFGH medical director Dr Anand Chatoorgoon suggested to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh that instead of patients suffering, in the interim, while they awaited parts and repairs, they could borrow the perfectly modern CT Scans which were sitting idle at the Couva Children’s Hospital.
Chatoorgoon said the delay in having the machines operational could cause overcrowding at the already congested SFGH, because if doctors could not confirm a diagnosis, they would be reluctant to release patients.
He said, “You need laboratory and radiological tests to confirm a diagnosis before you start your treatment and/or discharge your patients. The tragedy of it all is that there is a modern-up-to-date CT scanner sitting idle at the Couva’s Children Hospital (CCH) that can be used. There are more state-of-the-art equipment at the CCH, MRI’s, Ultra Sound machines, machines for radiological procedures which are all idle.
“CT scans cost in the thousands of dollars from $3,000 upwards depending on what area of the body requires scanning. Some people just can’t afford."
The Couva Children’s Hospital, a legacy of the People’s Partnership government, is yet to be put into operation, four years after it was opened. Options are still be looked at by the present administration for what is the possible best fit for the hospital.
Deyalsingh said government and The University of the West Indies are to set up a special-purpose company to run the hospital. Chatoorgoon called on the Government to put aside the politics and treat with “people who are catching their tails.”