Guyana’s first Specialty Hospital, to be constructed on the back of considerable controversy, will be designed to offer services in only five areas of expertise.
The Specialty Hospital site
While planning is still in its earliest stages, initial blueprints suggest it would be more feasible to limit the services offered to five specific areas including surgeries on complicated cases of cancer, complicated orthopaedic surgeries, organ transplants, complicated cases of neonatal surgeries, and cardiac surgeries.
Public Health Minister Dr George Norton told Guyana Times during a recent interview that those are the specialised services earmarked to be offered.
In providing an update on construction of the world-class health institution, Dr Norton disclosed that there are other elements of the hospital’s functioning that is currently under deliberation.
“We have to look at different aspects, apart from the actual construction,” he said, noting that construction will soon commence.
He however did not provide a specific timeframe.
Decisions will also have to be made on the process of admission of patients.
According to the Minister, the Hospital will most likely only accept patients based on surgical referrals from other health institutions. Therefore, there will be no accident and emergency unit at the Specialty Hospital.
“So patients would only be going there after they would have had them evaluated by physicians from the Georgetown Hospital or from a Private Hospital or even from overseas,” he explained.
Additionally, decisions will have to be made on the types of laboratories to install.
“We have to decide what kind of tests we will do at the laboratories. We have to think of the laboratory capacity between the Georgetown Public Hospital and the Specialty Hospital into consideration,” he explained, noting that the Specialty Hospital ought not duplicate the services offered by the public health institutions, unless necessary.
The overall economic mix of the establishment also needs to be sorted out.
“Like the accounts department of how the Hospital is going to run… if we are going to have persons privately paying or if it is going to be subsidised or completely free,” the Minister explained.
Aiding in arriving at suitable conclusions on these discussions is a team of highly trained and knowledgeable individuals from both the local and international regions.
“They are all playing a very important role in deciding how this Hospital will function,” the Minister said.
Dr Norton anticipates that the final proposal will soon be ready to be presented to Cabinet for approval.
Once all satisfactions are met, a contract will be signed for the construction.
Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian-firm Fedders Lloyd Construction Company to undertake the building of the facility despite the magnitude of criticisms against the decision and the overflowing concerns of ‘conflict of interest’ arising therefrom.
In 2012, an US$18 million contract was awarded to India-based Company Surendra Engineering to design and construct the facility.
The funding was provided by the Indian Government through a Line of Credit. The contractor’s services were subsequently terminated owing to several contractual breaches. The matter was taken to the High Court and compensation was accordingly awarded to the Government.
During that initial bidding process, Fedders Lloyd was disqualified but the company’s legal representative Khemraj Ramjattan (now Vice President and Public Security Minister) had argued against that verdict.
Despite this, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, even whilst in Opposition, contended that Fedders Lloyd was wronged.
Shortly after assumption to Office, the Government signed the MoU with the disqualified company to undertake the construction, citing that it would be more economical and less time-consuming rather than going through the transparent process of retendering.
Meanwhile, the Specialty Hospital site is located in Turkeyen and initial reports indicate that construction should be completed by the end of 2018.