SVG receives CT Scan Machine
March 18, 2011

SVG receives CT Scan Machine

After a delay of about two years, a Computerized Axial Tomography or CAT scan machine was officially handed over to the government of this country last Friday, March 11.{{more}}

The Bank of SVG (formerly the National Commercial Bank) and the National Insurance Services (NIS) jointly financed the piece of medical equipment which is estimated at just over EC $1 million.

Derry Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of SVG (Ag), said that the commissioning of the piece of medical equipment signaled a step forward in the health care industry here.

Since the decommissioning several years ago of the CAT scan machine owned and operated by Consultant Radiologist Dr Rosalind Ambrose, locals in need of a CAT scan have had to travel to neighbouring islands to access the service.

The costs associated with this, including air fare and accommodation, have been extremely high.

“Having a machine on the island removes the financial burden for our people,” Williams explained.

He further explained that it was because of the awareness of the great financial burden to patients that the idea of purchasing a new machine came about.

Cecil McKie, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, said that within the last two years, some 250 to 300 persons were referred overseas to obtain CAT scans.

And according to the Minister of Health, the government had to assist with the overall cost for some of these individuals.

He added that the project was an example of a partnership that had been formed for the overall benefit of all.

“It is important when partnerships come together, such as this, especially when they make a big difference in the delivery of health care service in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” McKie said.

He said that a few years ago, when the old machine broke down, there was a problem in the country.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves in the feature address said that for many years, CAT scan services had been provided, not by the state, but by persons in the private sector.

He further stated that given the high cost of the machine, successive administrations saw it fit to continue to leave the service in the hands of the private sector.

“We are very grateful to Dr Ambrose and her team, but clearly, even in that context, there were challenges,” the Prime Minister said.

He said that persons in the country had come to know the hardships suffered in the absence of the service, saying that the country could no longer afford to have just one machine.

“Because if it breaks down, we are back to square one,” Gonsalves said, adding that the government had made a decision to have a second facility.

The question, then, according to Gonsalves, was where the second machine will be placed, in Kingstown or at the new medical facility at Georgetown.

The prime minister added that he was given the assurance that the machine will be up and running by the middle of May this year. (DD)