St Jude Reconstruction still on schedule despite delays

Work proceeds on St Jude project.

On Wednesday 27th June, the Government of Saint Lucia conducted a tour of the St Jude Hospital Project Reconstruction Site. The tour was organized in order to provide the Prime Minister along with the media and by extension the wider public with a first-hand/official update on the status of work at the site.
Work on the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project began during the latter half of 2009 following a devastating fire that destroyed most of the surgical wing of the hospital and claimed the life of one man.
The St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project was originally scheduled for completion before the last quarter of this 2011 but according to Project Manager, Shanta King, several factors have contributed to the delay.
“We are still planning for the end of this year. There have been delays, yes, for a number of reasons. As you would be familiar with the project, when it started at the beginning, it was a temporary renovation and during the implementation of the project, Government took the decision to do a full scale renovation because it was felt that the cost of even a short term renovation was significant enough.
“The entire facility is being reconstructed and I think perhaps, if you would have visited St Jude prior to the fire, you would understand why they would be keying on this full scale renovation,” said King.
She says the building was a very old building and was long overdue for a full scale renovation which includes a complete redo of the electrical work. King says most of the structures have been broken down and rebuilt while keeping the foundation and layout of the hospital. In addition, she says new structures have been built to make St Jude’s Hospital a complete modern hospital.
“We have built a new MRI and CT Scan Unit which will house state of the art equipment by the hospital should they decide to purchase of receive donations for charitable organizations.
“We are also adding a new warehouse, a morgue will be built and that will be a separate building. Another separate building will be constructed to house the dialysis unit to continue the dialysis service that started post Hurricane Tomas at St Jude. The accident and emergency section of the surgical building will be newly built as well. So all electricals and plumbing will be redone but the layout will remain the same. The units will be fully air conditioned which was not the case before. A new water and waste treatment plant will also be installed together with new water tanks.
“So basically, this is a full scale reconstruction. St Jude had 97 beds before the commencement of this project and upon completion; the hospital will now have a number between 100 to 102 beds. The internal configuration is completely new to facilitate a better level of service. There are a few private patient rooms that did not exist before and in terms of the general space arrangement, this has been changed to facilitate a more efficient discharge of their services.”
Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jerry Poyard of the St Jude Hospital says the future of St Jude Hospital would have been problematic had the Government not taken the decision to house the operations of the hospital at the George Odlum National Stadium. The chief said he is quite happy with the progress of the work being done at the site.
“We have had many adjustments to make but by large, those of us who have been involved with the transition are quite grateful that we have been given the opportunity to use the stadium. I think the fire has caused the nation to look at the role of St Jude Hospital very critically and as a result it must be clear to all now that St Jude serves a vital purpose in the fabric of national health.
“As we talk about stadium fatigue, we are looking forward to the relocation and staff has been very intimately involved with the configuration and working with Miss Shanta King and her project management team and
so we are very excited to see what it is that we have created. We think that we have created something which is better than what we had—certainly in terms of functionality. The experience we have gathered here has forced us to take a hard look at the functionality and from day one at the stadium, we have been relooking at systems and I think we have made many improvements in our systems,” said Poyard.

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