Budget 2023 has allocated an unprecedented 96.1 million dollars in healthcare, a major investment in the sector.
Minister of Finance Hon. Camillo Gonsalves said it is actually 72 per cent higher than it was five (5) years ago and 60 per cent higher than in 2013, this comes at a time when healthcare delivery and infrastructure has expanded in both scope and quality.
The hallmark of this revolution in healthcare is the state-of-the-art US92 million-dollar Acute Care Hospital which will be built on the site of the old ET Joshua Airport. The 134-bed facility has already been designed and construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year. The hospital is expected to be completed by early 2026.
“The Acute Care Hospital will provide a variety of services, including trauma care, acute care surgery, emergency medicine…the facility will also offer a full range of allied health services required to support diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative interventions including medical laboratory technology, radiography, pharmacy, audiology, optometry, physical therapy, psychology …,” Gonsalves outlined.
A number of health facilities will also be refurbished and upgraded including the Port Elizabeth Hospital, the South Rivers Clinic, the Biabou, Greiggs, Diamond, Cedars, Byrea, Belair and Lowmans clinic. Another 1.7 million dollars will be spent on further upgrades at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
By June 2023, work on transforming the Enhams Clinic into a Wellness Centre will begin at a cost of 6 hundred thousand dollars. Clinics in Calliaqua and South Rivers will be upgraded to Polyclinics.
The Finance Minister also stressed that among the major thrusts for 2023 will be a 4 million dollar allocation to construct a modern public health laboratory, 1 million dollars will be spent to acquire the country’s first hyperbaric oxygen chamber and preliminary designs on a Modern Geriatric facility are in consideration with an estimated construction cost of 10 million US dollars.
“You don’t need a long memory to remember a time when Vincentians had to travel overseas for CT scans, MRI’s, Chemotherapy, Dialysis and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. By the end of this year, all of those services-all of them- will be available right here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that’s before the Acute Care Hospital even opens its doors,” Gonsalves boasted.