THE 70 year old Soufriere Hospital could either be torn down and rebuilt at another location with more available land space or it could be renovated. However, one thing is certain: it is inadequate in its present form to meet the needs of the town and its environs.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Health Minister Mary Isaac arrived at the same conclusion last Thursday after a tour of the facility, the premier health service provider on the country’s west coast.
“I am not 100 percent convinced that this building is adequately equipped or designed to cope with everything we want to do. My feeling for a long time is that we need to build a new hospital. What I have seen today is we trying to patch up and see something work but I’m not so sure it can actually give to the people of Soufriere the quality of health care we all aspire for,” Chastanet said.
Isaac, however was more forceful, saying that residents of the town deserve a better health care facility than what they have today.
“We are going to look at the different studies that have been done, analyze the situation and determine once and for all whether to build a new hospital or renovate this one to an acceptable standard,” Isaac said.
The Health Minister said that her immediate priority for the hospital is to complete the physical works being done on the structure so as to give patients there a better level of comfort.
However both Isaac and Chastanet, along with Herod Stanislas, the constituency parliamentary representative agreed that some things have to be done immediately to improve the condition there. Therefore in the absence of a final decision Stanislas intends to hold discussions with the private sector to see what can be done to make life a bit more comfortable for patients and staff.
Chastanet, however, said that he will take his cue from Isaac, as Health Minister, as to what to do with the hospital.
According to him, Soufriere is a big town and when taken into consideration the thousands of tourists who was regularly visit the town and communities like Canaries and its environs that it caters for, then it clearly is failing or has failed to reach the required standard of health care.
“If anything is to happen this hospital is inadequate to deal with the crisis,” Chastanet said.
The hospital was built in 1946.