Open Letter to the St Lucia prime minister regarding St Jude Hospital

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Hon. Prime Minister,

The matter of St Jude Hospital continues to be of grave concern not only of residents of Vieux Fort but all citizens of Saint Lucia and whereas the local news agencies have not yet reported on some of the recent happenings.., from the photographs currently in circulation in social media and the discussions they are generating, it seems as though the Works on the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project (SJHRP) resumed on or around 19th November 2018.

If as the photographs and discussions suggest, that in keeping with recommendations of the Interim Technical Audit Report of 2016, the Works have resumed and the Project shall now be completed, then we salute you for finally undertaking to do what is politically correct and expedient.

It is still the view of some experienced construction professionals, that a transfer of major aspects of the operations of SJH from George Odlum National Stadium (GONS) can still be undertaken within the next six months, even before the start of the 2019 Tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season.

If on the other hand, the tell-tale images are nothing more than some justification for GOSL’s continued claim that due to design and specification deficiencies as well as non-conformance of the construction of the SJHRP, that sections of the Works including the East and Surgical Wings, must be condemned, demolished and/or repurposed, then we remain extremely disappointed.

In light of the above, it is comprehensible why the public has started to speculate that the GOSL is in the process of demolishing the whole of SJH. Some sections of the public are even concerned that GOSL has now decided to construct a new but smaller hospital to facilitate the re-use of the SJHRP including all the structures and services, as a medical school.

In either case, it is conceivable that a gross floor area of 80,000 -100,000 square feet of space is required to house all Administrative, Surgical, Medical, Recovery, Out Patient, Radiology, Laboratory, Records, Accident and Emergency, Staff On-Call, Kitchen and Canteen Departments currently housed at the GONS.

In addition, given the limitations of the site and trusting that no existing structures shall be demolished, then any New Wing/Hospital required to replace the current East (medical), Central (surgical) and West (administrative) Wings, shall have to be no less than 3 or 4 storeys in height and between 20,000 – 25,000 square feet in plan area.

Notwithstanding what GOSL has (or has not) disclosed to date about the Project, there are still a number of pertinent questions which must be answered, if the general public is to be provided with a level of assurance and consolation, that something appropriate is happening. These questions include, but are not limited to the following:

1. In keeping with the TVA and HERA Studies including bed-count projections and floor space requirements on the national level, what type of Healthcare Facility (General/ Community/ University/ Teaching) is GOSL seeking to now develop or expand SJHRP into at Augier?

2. Which Departments of St Jude Hospital currently housed at the GONS, shall be housed in the ‘much-spoken-of’ proposed New Wing/Hospital?

3. Where exactly on the current site will the New Wing/Hospital be situated?

4. How shall the New Wing/Hospital be integrated into the current infrastructural layout of the SJHRP Complex?

5. What specific factors have informed any final decisions on where to locate the New Wing/Hospital?

6. Who has GOSL engaged as the Hospital Check Consultant to manage the design and construction processes of the New Wing/Hospital in order to ensure that the Project’s deliverables are met and the alleged costly past errors are not repeated?

7. Have the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), Saint Lucia Nurses Association (SLNA), SJH Board of Management, SJH Medical, Nursing and Ancillary Staff been engaged in consultations as User Groups, in conjunction with a Health Planner and/or as Sub-User Groups, to contribute to the formulation and development of Outline Clinical Operational Policy Templates based on acceptable Schedules of Accommodation, Room Data Sheets, Departmental Adjacency Schedules and Functional Area Schedules for the New Wing/ Hospital?

8. Which Accreditation Body has GOSL engaged to provide oversight for the New Wing in particular and/or the Hospital in general?

9. To what International Healthcare Delivery Standard or Building Code shall the New Wing/Hospital be constructed?

10. How shall design consultants and contractors be procured for the New Wing/Hospital?

11. When can the general public expect to see a Concept Design of the overall proposal for the New Wing/Hospital?

12. Has the New Wing/Hospital been granted approval by the Development Control Authority and its numerous Relevant Referral Agencies?

13. When is construction of the New Wing/ Hospital expected to commence?

14. Shall any Consultants and Contractors who were previously engaged on the SJHRP, be re-engaged on the construction of the New Wing/ Hospital?

15. When is the construction of the New Wing/ Hospital expected to be completed and commissioned?

16. How many beds shall the New Wing/Hospital provide?

17. Upon completion, shall the New Wing/Hospital be under the SJH Board of Management as per the current St Jude Hospital Act?

18. What is the estimated cost of construction, furnishing, commissioning and operating the New Wing/Hospital?

19. What does GOSL intend to do with the GONS immediate after the transfer of the SJH Hospital?

20. Given the concerns expressed by GOSL regarding the management of the SJHRP and lack of accountability on the part of the Project Management Team, what provisions shall be implemented to mitigate any of the issues highlighted in the Interim Technical Audit Report of 2016?

On behalf of all concerned citizens of Saint Lucia, we look forward to, and we thank you in advance, for your kind response to our aforementioned questions.

With kind regards

Mark Hennecart
Concerned Citizens of Saint Lucia

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