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Seecheran Questions Delay On Cardiac Lab

CARONI East Member of Parliament Dr Rishad Seecheran has questioned the planned construction of a cardiac catheterisation laboratory at San Fernando General Hospital, asking why the promised resource has yet to come to fruition.

Speaking at a United National Congress (UNC) press conference yesterday, Seecheran said despite a response from Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh during a parliamentary sitting on Friday, citizens with heart disease remain at risk without the lab.

The lab, which Seecheran said is typically used by specialist doctors to perform angiograms and angioplasties on patients with heart disease, has been promised for years. As a result, he said the country’s only public lab remains at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope.

Seecheran said afflicted patients usually wait months or years for angiograms or angioplasties to be performed. Many, he said, die during the waiting period, unable to purchase medication that would prevent a heart attack.

Citing high levels of coronary heart disease, he said Deyalsingh’s statement on the lab was an attempt to ‘play games with the public once again’.

‘This is a promise that Minister Deyalsingh has made to the people of San Fernando and environs budget after budget, with still no lab in sight,’ he said.

Seecheran said in 2020, the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) put out a request for proposals for a design-build contract that would provide services to design, build, and equip the cardiac catheterisation lab on the San Fernando hospital’s third floor, above its Accident and Emergency Department.

The specification outline for the lab, he said, included a procedure room, a control room, four doctor’s offices, an image processing room, a conference room, a mechanical room, a patient prep and recovery area with eight beds, and a biomedical service room.

He said the public and doctors believed that the lab was to be built in fiscal year 2020.

‘In the 2020 Public Sector Investment Programme, funds totalling $70 million were allocated under the Physical Investment Programme for priority works, part of which was to fund the electrical upgrade of the San Fernando General Hospital and the creation of a cardiac catheterisation laboratory at San Fernando General Hospital,’ said the MP.

‘In the 2021 budget debate, Minister Deyalsingh said that tenders and packages were now open and were being evaluated.

The Express contacted Deyalsingh yesterday for a response but none was received.

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