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A New Lease For Victoria Hospital

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Thursday, September 29, 2005 – The standard of services delivered at the island’s oldest health institution – the Victoria Hospital in Castries, has been given a significant boost. This is a result of a joint project between the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) and the Government of Saint Lucia.

The focus of the project was to strengthen areas needing urgent developmental and technological support, in order to upgrade the hospital’s ability to efficiently care for patients.

Some two years after the project was initiated officials of the Ministry of Health. Human Services Family Affairs and Gender Relations, along with NIC representatives on Friday 23rd, September 2005 hosted the commissioning of the upgraded units and departments.

These include the Owen King Operating Theatres, a six bed Intensive and Cardiac Care Unit (ICU) (CCU) a three bed recovery room, a new central sterilisation Service Department and the provision of Laboratory, Radiology and Imaging services at the hospital. Ventilatory Support equipment was also installed in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Finance for the overall undertaking was made available by the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) in the amount of $2.3 million while the Government of Saint Lucia made a counterpart contribution of $146,814 specifically to facilitate minor civil works and the provision of furniture.

Speaking at the ceremony, Director of the NIC Ms. Emma Hippolyte noted that the money was specifically intended to empower Victoria Hospital to deliver the best health care.

Minister for Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations Honourable Damian Greaves speaking at the commissioning ceremony noted the institution will continue to make an indelible mark on health care in the country. He said converting the Hospital into a polyclinic, in the future, seems to be a probable course of action. However the Minister said the matter is still under consideration.

“There is a committee now headed by Dr. King in the Ministry of Health looking at several options for the premises of Victoria Hospital including the option of a Level 4 facility, namely the Castries Poly-clinic, offering a wide range of services to the Castries public.”

Speaking to an audience of mainly doctors and nurses of the Victoria Hospital the health minister said the hospital staff will be protected under the new arrangements and new governance which will be introduced to the facility. Minister Greaves says it is expected that ongoing consultations lead to further progress next year.

“Consultations seem to be moving very well thus far. I am hoping these consultations come to completion in December and I’m hoping that by the first quarter of the next financial year 2006/2007 that we shall see a new governance structure and a new orientation at the Victoria Hospital as we make the move to the new national hospital.”

Meanwhile Honourable Greaves disclosed that there will be the upgrading of several departments and units including the Out patient Clinic, the Accident and Emergency Department and the upgrading of the Central Medical Stores.

The Dental Unit of the Castries Health Centre will also be relocated to more conducive accommodation at the hospital and the Eye Health Care will also come on stream soon.

On the occasion of Saint Lucia’s Independence Jubilee in 2003 which also coincided with the National Insurance Corporation’s 25th anniversary, the Cooperation vouched a gift of $ 2.1 million dollars to the nation.

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