GOVERNMENT will be investing $1.3 billion from 2018 to 2021 into all projects being undertaken by the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA). Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said so yesterday at the official launch of an electronic health record (EHR) system for the National Radiology Centre (NRC) at the St James Complex. Also launched at the same venue was the authority's Be Well TT mobile application to encourage people to live healthy lifestyles and reduce the incidences of non-communicable diseases.
Deyalsingh said $1.1 billion will be spent on the construction of a new central block at the Port of Spain General Hospital (PoSGH). Construction is scheduled to begin in October. He identified a new Diego Martin health centre and the purchase of a magnetic resonance imaging machine for the St James Medical Complex as some of the other items covered by the remainder of this expenditure.
When the sod is turned for the construction of the central block, Deyalsingh said the new Arima and Point Fortin hospitals will come on line, with 150 and 100 beds respectively. He predicted the news coming out of the health sector in the coming months will be "getting better, better, better". On the new EHR and the app, Deyalsingh said he wished the technology was available 50 years ago but "better late than never.”
Through this technology, Deyalsingh said, the ministry was able to determine that the cost of providing one cancer patient in the public health sector with drugs for one month was $94,000.
NWRHA chairman Lisa Agard was confused about the number of manual paper processes in the public sector when TT has some of the most advanced telecommunications systems in the world.
Pharmacy services at the NRC were digitalised on May 1. From May 1 to July 18, Agard said, this technology allowed the NWRHA to record that 8,657 patients came to the NRC and 4,289 came more than once. The technology also allowed the authority to reduce the amount of expired drugs at the NRC from a value of $33,000 in May to $121 last month. Agard was hopeful the new technology at the NRC will be rolled out, in time, to the St Ann's hospital, PoSGH and other health centres under the NWRHA's purview.