Face to Face with the THA

Tobago House of Assembly.
Healthcare in Tobago will take a major leap within the next few weeks with the commissioning of a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Scarborough General Hospital, Medical Chief of Staff at the institution, Dr Nathaniel Duke disclosed on Thursday night. (11th April 2013)

He said right now the team was coming together to lay the foundation for ICU services in Tobago. It includes anaesthesiologists, trained nurses, dietary staff, radiologist, medicine staff and others to assist in the multi disciplinary approach in the management of patients who were critically ill.

“We have to recognise that this is a major leap, a major leap for health care in Tobago, moving from a system where you had no ICU services a couple months ago and you are now leaping into an area of advance supportive critical care. It’s a major leap, the team was now putting together a framework to take healthcare delivery to another level on the island,” Dr Duke told the second session of Face to Face with the THA at the Charlotteville Library Auditorium.

These sessions were being held on the second Thursday of the month as part of the Assembly’s efforts to democratise governance in Tobago following the clean sweep of the PNM in the January 21 THA elections.

Dr Duke was responding to nine questions to the Executive Council from Charlotteville villager McInroy James, who claimed that he was a qualified nurse and hospital administrator in the US.

Dr Duke explained that the delay in commissioning the ICU at the new $625 million 100-bed hospital at Signal Hill was as a result of the absence of three anaesthesiologists and other skilled and highly trained staff who can provide the intensive care in a multi disciplinary approach to advance and higher level care of any patient who was critically ill. He said a year ago there was one anaesthesiologist in Tobago but that individual was unable to do all the operating procedures and also run the ICU.

He added that three ICU specialists were needed to fully run that service as well as provide operating theatre services and fortunately in December 2012 a second anaesthesiologist joined the staff while a third has accepted an offer to do so.

There was a large turnout of villagers from Charlotteville, Hermitage, Speyside, King’s Bay and Delaford to listen to their area representative and to question members of the Executive Council on their performance. The special topic for discussion on the night was the healthcare system in Tobago. The main concern of the majority of villagers was a lack of a 24-hour ambulance service, the need for fire fighting equipment and the development of the seafront with a new Mall and on land facilities for the fishermen.

Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke told the villagers that an ambulance specifically for Charlotteville could be sourced through the UNDP in the shortest possible time once the THA can source the money to purchase it. She said the seven ambulances on the island had to be shared.

Chief Secretary Orville London promised that his administration would provide a report on its performance to the Tobago population at the end of every calendar year.

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