August 20, 2010
GE takes blame for CAT delay

The delay in the arrival of a CAT (computed axial tomography) scan machine here is not the fault of local authorities, General Electronic (GE) representative Rosa Lopez told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.{{more}}

The National Insurance Services (NIS) and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) are financing a CAT scanner for the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has been without a CAT scanner for some time, after one owned by a private company was decommissioned.

“Everything that needed to be done from the customer side or the government side of St. Vincent has been met – all the requirements, meaning the site preparation, the payments. The delay is now on the manufacturer side – being able to send the unit,” Lopez told SEARCHLIGHT.

Lopez, who is based in Trinidad, said there has been a slowdown in manufacturing globally, resulting in manufacturers being unable to keep up with the demand for CAT scanners.

She, however, said she used a recent editorial in SEARCHLIGHT and the case of a 21-year-old girl who was recently in desperate need of a CAT scan, to show GE the urgency of getting the scanner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I think with the article, it was actually helpful for us to kind of elevate that within the GE organization to try to move this unit shipment forward,’ Lopez said.

SEARCHLIGHT in its Editorial of August 17, 2010, highlighted the need for a CAT scanner here, noting the cost involved in transporting patients overseas.

Lopez said the GE Bright Speech Multislice CT Scanner, which has been ordered for SVG, costs about US$500,000.

She said getting the machine from the manufacturer to the SVG would normally take between four and five weeks.

Lopez said she has made a commitment to the NIS and the MCMH to send additional engineers to SVG to reduce by half, the three to four

weeks it normally takes to install the scanner.

“I think they (the government and the NIS) have done everything from their end. There’s been a lot of follow up from their end … So, they have not been relaxed about it,” Lopez said. (KXC)