8.8 million to be spent on existing medical facilities

Budget 2020 continues the Government’s focus on improving the quality of our clinics and the medical care offered in all corners of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Following on the heels of last year’s $6.5 million investment in school repair, Budget 2020 will spend $7.8 million on refurbishing, equipping and upgrading medical facilities in Barrouallie, Bequia, Buccament, Calliaqua, Cedars, Chateaubelair, Clare Valley, Georgetown, Greiggs, Mayreau, Sandy Bay, Sion Hill, Stubbs and Union Island. An additional $1 million will be spent to upgrade the outpatient clinic at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

This $8.8 million is an unprecedented investment in the quality of existing medical facilities, and further evidence of the Government’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of all Vincentians.

Last year’s budget speech discussed the Government’s progress in constructing a 140-bed acute referral hospital at the site of the decommissioned ET Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale.

The renowned global architectural firms of Pinearq and Mallol Arquitectos, of Spain and Panama, respectively, were hired to complete the designs for the hospital. Pinearq and Mallol have extensive experience in designing medical facilities throughout Europe and Latin America.

To date, structural designs have been submitted, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing designs are nearing completion.

 All final designs will be submitted in March 2020. The Government is finalising funding arrangements for the construction of this facility, and expects to begin construction in 2021.

As discussed elsewhere in this Address, the Government is proud of its decision to relocate the residents of the Lewis Punnett Home from their unsatisfactory accommodations in Glen. The $3 million temporary facility is superior to the former Lewis Punnett Home in every respect. However, it is only a temporary home. Budget 2020 allocates $400,000 for the demolition and design of a new Lewis Punnett Home at its original location. We look forward to welcoming those residents to a new first class facility in East Saint George in the coming years.

Last year, the Government published its first-ever Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities. In that Charter, the Government reiterated its recognition of the right to health as a fundamental human right. However, the Charter went further, detailing patients’ rights of access, confidentiality, quality care, information, non-discrimination and the right to pursue grievances against healthcare providers. In 2020, the Government, through the Ministry of Health and its hardworking team of medical professionals, will continue to ensure patients’ rights and embody both the letter and the spirit of the Charter.