Chinese firm to build new PoS hospital block

Shang­hai Con­struc­tion has been award­ed a bil­lion-dol­lar con­tract to build the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal’s new cen­tral block and the two-year project is ex­pect­ed to be­gin in Sep­tem­ber.

St James Med­ical Com­plex will al­so be­come the St James Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal fol­low­ing a $5m up­grade.

Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert and Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh an­nounced both de­vel­op­ments at Thurs­day’s post-Cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing.

Plans had been in place to re­place the seis­mi­cal­ly-chal­lenged cen­tral block since ear­ly last year, but this was ex­pe­dit­ed fol­low­ing the 6.1 mag­ni­tude earth­quake last Au­gust.

Im­bert said Cab­i­net had ap­proved the award of a con­tract for Shang­hai Con­struc­tion to build the new block.

Of two bid­ders for the project, he said the Chi­nese firm’s bid at $1b was $600m less than the oth­er bid which came from Bouygues Ba­ti­ment, a French com­pa­ny. Shang­hai scored 234 out of 300 points, he added.

Deyals­ingh said work to­wards the con­struc­tion of the cen­tral block is in two phas­es.

The first part be­gan last Sep­tem­ber with de­mo­li­tion work of build­ings on the lo­ca­tion.

This ends in Sep­tem­ber when con­struc­tion of the new block—which will hold 540 beds—be­gins. Com­ple­tion of the cen­tral block may take about 24 to 30 months, Deyals­ingh es­ti­mat­ed. The Gov­ern­ment will fi­nance the project by loan fi­nanc­ing.

On Op­po­si­tion crit­i­cisms that the cost of projects done by Chi­nese firms tend­ed to es­ca­late over time, Im­bert said Shang­hai was the same com­pa­ny which built the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal for the past Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship ad­min­is­tra­tion and sev­er­al oth­er projects done by the firm did not sus­tain price es­ca­la­tions.

Work will al­so be done on the St James Med­ical Com­plex, to ex­pand beds to 88 and add 24/7 hour labs and oth­er fa­cil­i­ties. The $53m up­grade will be done by Chi­na Rail­way.

Deyals­ingh said jobs for med­ical per­son­nel will be open­ing up soon as a re­sult of new med­ical fa­cil­i­ties—Ari­ma, Point Fortin and oth­er hos­pi­tals—com­ing on stream.

Deyals­ingh al­so praised the re­sponse by Mt Hope Med­ical Cen­tre’s ac­ci­dent and emer­gency unit con­cern­ing Tues­day’s hor­rif­ic ac­ci­dent on the Uri­ah But­ler High­way where a Blue Wa­ters truck crossed the me­di­an and slammed in­to a PTSC bus killing two and in­jur­ing 48 oth­ers.

He said the North Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty had start­ed up­grad­ing such ser­vices since last Au­gust and the hos­pi­tal was able to deal well with Tues­day’s emer­gency.

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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