THE health sector was allocated $6.084 billion in the 2020 budget, an increase of $369m from the 2019 package which stood at $5.695b.
Among the highlights for health are construction of facilities including the Arima hospital which will accommodate 150 beds at a cost of $1.6 billion. Imbert said this facility will benefit 250,000 people in surrounding areas and will be commissioned at the end of this year.
The Point Fortin hospital is scheduled to be opened in January and will serve about 75,000 people. It was built at a cost of $1.2 billion, with funding from an Austrian bank and has an accommodation of 100 beds. The new Sangre Grande hospital is scheduled to be completed by November 2021 and is also funded by an Austrian bank at a cost of $1.2 billion. This facility is proposed to accommodate 100 beds and serve 110,000 people.
Upgrades to the Port of Spain General Hospital's central block will see 550 beds added to this hospital's stock and this work will be completed by 2022. Other facilities to be housed on the block include a pharmacy, radiology dept, stores and laboratories.
The Roxborough hospital to be opened in 2021 at a cost of $60 million while the St. James health facility has newly been upgraded at a cost of $45 million and creates a new state-of-the-art cancer centre.
A new Diego Martin Health Centre scheduled to be commissioned in October 2020, at Diamond Vale, is being done at a cost of $8.6 million. The Couva Medical and Multi Training facility will provide 230 beds that includes 150 for adults and 80 for paediatrics. It will also cater for variety of walk-in services and pharmacy.
Imbert said, the hospital is now jointly owned by the government and the University of the West Indies (UWI) is seeking to acquire an operator.
"While the facility is now being managed by the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), the ownership company the Couva Medical and Multi Training Limited is in t he process of securing a first-class and quality operator for the hospital which will begin to provide medical training services for the regional tertiary institutions. The hospital would be a vehicle for medical tourism and teaching."
Imbert also broke down the cost of access to important medical services for the fiscal year 2019. These included, an increase in drug items 7.1 million to 10.2 million, the renal dialysis at cost of $72.0 million, adult cardiac at $15.6 million and the Children’s Life Fund which gave access to 20 patients to access to treatment for life threatening diseases at a total cost of $7.6 million.
Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh said some of the money will be used to increase operations particularly at the Arima, Point Fortin and St James facilities. "This budget is good and I am happy with the allocation and we can continue to the health care system."