Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 9th 2014 Contents A17
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A master plan for the redevelopment of three of the coun-
try's major hospitals will be unveiled in the next eight
The plan, which will be compiled by Canadian firm B+H
Architects, will address the infrastructural requirements and
other problems affecting the Eric Williams Medical Sciences
Complex (EWMSC), Port-of-Spain General Hospital (PoSGH)
and the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), Health
Minister Fuad Khan said yesterday.
He said so while delivering brief remarks at an inception
meeting at the Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-of-
Khan said efforts would be made to ensure the plan satisfied
international standards and also would transform the three
institutions into modern, patient-centric, client-focused, safe
and customer-friendly facilities.
Addressing professionals from both the public and private
sector, Khan said T&T's major hospitals were built more than
60 years ago, at a time when the service demand of the pop-
ulation most was not what it was today.
After identifying the need for urgent individual improve-
ments, Khan said the idea of a developmental master plan
was conceived. Canadian firm B+H Architects was later
selected to compile and present the master plan, he added.
Revealing his intention to construct specialist centres,
hospital campuses and other facilities to satisfy the demand
by the public, Khan said when he first asked for the master
plan at the start of similar projects he discovered there was
He said: "There must be one, as things cannot be done at
this level and you don't have a master plan. This is the start
of a lot of things and we now have a plan of action based
on the needs of the people."
Khan orders master plan
for health facilities
Facelifts for 3
on the cards
B+H Architects is a 70-year-old Canadian firm which
has previously worked in T&T on the planning phase of
the Penal hospital.
Their Web site lists their involvement in the design and
improvement of similar medical facilities, hotels and
offices in Canada, Asia and the Middle-East.
WHO IS B+H ARCHITECTS
Also at yesterday's meeting was Stewart Smith, senior
health systems adviser in the Health Ministry, who
revealed that officials of B+H Architects had conducted
informal site visits to two of the three hospitals.
He said: "I don't think we would be telling tales outside
of school if the consultants were to observe the
infrastructure at the PoSGH needed replacing.
"I don't think we needed to bring Canadian consultants
to come and tell us that. We can walk through and see
that on our own.
"It is for that reason that the minister thought it
instructive that we should have an entire overhaul of the
health infrastructure and it should be informed by a
strategic vision which is informed by a long-term, client-
He said the plan would provide documentation to guide
the future vision for the health care system.
Lead consultant Chris Mc Quillan said his firm was
working alongside the regional health authorities and the
ministry to "come up with a picture of what it will be like
to be a patient and receive care in each of the three
He said following close examination of staff operations
and the level and quality of care provided, they would be
able to determine what was missing, what needed to be
improved and what should be introduced.
SITES VISITS ALREADY DONE
Caribbean mobile provider Digicel
yesterday agreed to allow its customers
to access popular "free calls" applica-
tions Viber, Tango and Nimbuzz once
again after the Telecommunications
Authority of T&T (TATT) started an
investigation into complaints made
about Digicel's action.
In a release yesterday, Digicel said it
made the decision after TATT confirmed
it would investigate the company's own
complaint about the use of number-
based VoIP applications in the country.
It added: "Digicel has been engaged
by the authority and has sought to relay
its concerns relating to the use of these
applications and the attendant impact
they have on consumers in T&T.
"Digicel shall continue to engage with
the authority and very much welcomes
the opportunity that has been provided
to communicate its position and con-
Pointing out that TATT had asked
that Digicel continue to provide the
VoIP products to its customers while
the investigation was going on, the com-
"Digicel is willing, in light of the
authority's commitment to carefully
review these matters in consultation
with the industry, to accede, effective
July 9, to the authority's request in the
interim period whilst preserving its
rights in relation to the matter gener-
In its own release yesterday, TATT
confirmed it had started an investigation
into complaints related to the alleged
blocking of VoIP applications by Digicel.
"At this time, the authority has
engaged Digicel and acknowledges the
constructive manner of Digicel's
response to date.
"Whilst the investigative process is
ongoing, the authority will discuss the
fundamental issues relating to the use
of number-based VoIP applications.
These issues certainly require further
investigation and detailed consideration
on the part of the authority."
It added that it had asked Digicel to
reconsider its decision to block the serv-
ice because it believed all consumers
should be treated equally in the inter-
"Whilst the authority has made no
determination or decision in the matter,
we believe that the maintenance of the
provision of these services in the interim
period would be in the best interest of
all stakeholders and will allow the
authority time to engage in this process
in a calm and constructive manner," it
Digicel had barred customers' access
to the services over the weekend, saying
"unlicensed VoIP operators, like Viber
and Nimbuzz, use telecoms networks
to deliver their services but they do not
pay any money for the privilege.
"This unauthorised activity puts enor-
mous pressures on bandwidth, which
means customers' data usage experience
is negatively impacted as a result.
"As such, Digicel has been forced to
take firm action to prevent this parasitic
activity," Digicel's communication man-
ager Penny Gomez had told the Sunday
She said while Digicel "invested mil-
lions in its network and business," unli-
censed VoIP reaped the benefits with
no capital investment.
"The situation is untenable on a
medium-to-long-term basis and so we
are taking a stand," she added.
TATT to probe complaints
A local Brazilian fan is consoled by a friend yesterday at the Carnival City Lounge, San Fernando, after they watched Germany
thrash Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup semi-final in Brazil. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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