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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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40-year wait for Roxborough hospital

Carolyn Cornwall-Williams suggests that a heliport be included as part of the hospital.  PHOTO COURTESY THE DIVISON OF HEALTH, WELLNESS AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
Carolyn Cornwall-Williams suggests that a heliport be included as part of the hospital. PHOTO COURTESY THE DIVISON OF HEALTH, WELLNESS AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT

RESIDENTS of Roxborough are welcoming the construction of a hospital and health centre. Now they are asking for a heliport, specialist doctors and modern technology in a state-of-the-art facility.

At a consultation on the hospital on Monday, the residents say they have been waiting over 40 years for the promise of a hospital to materialise. They also called on the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) to give villagers first preference for employment.

The residents also want to contractor to first fix a river in Roxborough which floods the village during the rainy season.

A representative from Udecott explained, a hydrology report along with soil investigation is being done before construction begins.

One resident said the east of Tobago is excited for a hospital after waiting for many years. He said he would first like to see the drawings for the hospital and information on which medical specialists will be stationed there.

“To Udecott, we want qualified people doing the work. Ensure the drawings are done clearly so that those doing the work won’t put up structures that are not on the drawings. We had this issue with many projects in Tobago, including the Signal Hill hospital, where they had to break it down.

“We want a first-class facility delivered after waiting 40 years. When I’m sick I want to get service that will have me smiling. We want to be assured that we won’t get any four-by-four room to choke us up. As I said, the hospital is 40 years late and we are ready to get and appreciate it.”

Carolyn Williams of Roxborough also said the hospital should be fully equipped with heliport, MRI and other services.

A cross section of Roxborough residents at the community's health center on Monday for the first consultation on the building of a hospital in the area. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GONZALES

“We are tired of hearing of people having to be flown to Trinidad if they are very sick. If you doing something now, do it well by bringing everything on stream. If the services are not in Scarborough hospital they can even come to Roxborough.”

Sharon Baptiste asked that the hospital be built on elevated land in case of flooding.

The residents also stressed the need for adequate beds, even if they remain empty.

Dr Agatha Carrington, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, said the community will be involved 100 per cent. She said a heliport is being considered and adequate beds are part of the plan. She said this will bring change to Tobago east and north.

“We found that the concept for an urgent care centre for Roxborough needed to be reviewed to ensure it can provide for east Tobago the services required. In 2018 we recognised the primary-care services required review and we had to look at that as well.”

The hospital will be built near the new Roxborough police station at Bloody Bay Road. Carrington also spoke of plans to relocate the old health centre to the same compound as the hospital.

“We have a prime piece of land, so we can deliver both facilities on the same site. We know that we would have the required support both from central government and the THA in terms of delivering this particular project, but doing that, we need the support of the persons who are to use it. We may say we want to do the health centre there as well as the hospital; the community may say they want it to stay in this place.”

Carrington said she believes the health centre at Main Road, Roxborough has served its time.

“We believe the services could be delivered in a higher standard facility. Once we have that support and the monitoring of the community and the inputs of services, it will best benefit the east of Tobago.”

She said constructing a district health facility was the initial idea. However when the Prime Minister visited the island earlier this year, during a site visit to see major ongoing projects, he recommended a hospital instead.

She said the construction of the hospital is timely as health care for citizens of Tobago east needs urgent attention.

“If you are ill, Signal Hill (Scarborough General Hospital) is very far. With the best of roads, it is very far if you are very ill,. So we want to make sure east and northeast of Tobago can have a service, so if anything should happen, you have easier access than you now have.”

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