September 3, 2010
CAT scan machine will be placed at CMIC

The CAT (computed axial tomography) scan machine being purchased for the public by the National Insurance Services (NIS) and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) will not be housed at a state-owned healthcare facility.{{more}}

The $1.4 million machine will be located at Caribbean Medical Imaging Centre (CMIC) at Stoney Ground, a private facility owned by Consultant Radiologist Dr. Rosalind Ambrose.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves told Parliament on Monday, August 30, that they should say if they object to the arrangement because Ambrose is the sister of Minister of Culture René Baptiste.

Gonsalves was responding to questions about the CAT scan machine by opposition senator, Daniel Cummings.

The Prime Minister said the machine will be housed at CMIC because there is no space at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital for the equipment.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) administration had ignored suggestions by Ambrose to make provision for the equipment when the hospital was being remodeled in 1993, the Prime Minister said.

Ambrose, in 1997, bought a CAT scan machine, which has since exhausted its years of service.

“… It was felt easier since all the connections were there already – all the electrical connections and everything involved to put this machine there [at the CMIC] and to work out with her a memorandum, an agreement in terms of the use of this facility …” Gonsalves said.

He said the decision by the Cabinet to locate the machine at CMIC was “taken on the basis of sound reasoning”, based on the information Cabinet had.

“This is not something which Caribbean Imaging is going to be making money out of. They will be providing a service – the professional service – in a classical private-public partnership,” Gonsalves said.

He further told legislators that a memorandum of understanding was being drafted and would address quality assurance, adding that all Vincentians would be able to access the service.

“No one would be denied the services because they can’t pay. The social services of the ULP [Unity Labour Party] government will reinforce this policy,” he said, adding that Ambrose is “keenly interested” in fulfilling this element of her mandate. (KXC)