PHILIPSBURG:--- Over the weekend a small group consisting of Minister Emil Lee and one representative each from INSO, Royal Haskoning, St. Maarten Medical Center, and KPMG, visited the Owen King E. U. Hospital in St. Lucia. During their tour of the hospital built by INSO this group met with the Honorable Minister of Health and Wellness, Minister Mary Isaac. Discussions were had with Minister Isaac on possible areas of cooperation and why the hospital was not yet in use. The Owen King E.U. Hospital, funded by the European Union, was completed approximately two (2) years ago and has all necessary medical equipment in place, however, it is [sadly] still not being used.
The completed hospital experienced issues with the financial resources needed to make it operational and the training required to use the available high-tech equipment. Much of the equipment in the Owen King E.U. Hospital is from Siemens and there is a training gap in the skills of the personnel in terms of how to operate the modern equipment. For these reasons, the completed hospital remains non-operational.
Visiting the hospital provided insight into what was done well which could be incorporated into the design of the new St. Maarten General Hospital and what mistakes to avoid. “The hospital is just a building. If we don’t ensure that our staff is up-to-speed and that we have proper protocols and procedures in place, in the end, it is just a building”, said Minister Lee. While in the construction process, it is important to ensure that the entire healthcare chain, healthcare system, staff knowledge & training and more are all up-to-speed to safeguard that the new General Hospital meets the needs of its population.