PHILIPSBURG–The new hospital for St. Maarten – St. Maarten General Hospital – will require an additional 100 new staff members, which will include technical and administrative functions in combination with various medical professionals, including specialists, Health Minister Emil Lee said on Wednesday.
Ground is expected to be broken for the construction of the new hospital in early December. Lee told reporters at the Council of Ministers press briefing that the recent announcement by American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine regarding the offering of scholarships to residents is a great project in terms of the timing. “It really allows for people to go into the scholarship programme and gear up for the jobs that will be available with the completion of the hospital.”
The scholarship covers full tuition to attend AUC. Interested residents who want to pursue medical studies should look into applying, he said. “You must be a resident of St. Maarten and accepted to study at AUC. The academic scholarships cover all tuition costs as long as the recipients maintain satisfactory grades throughout their enrolment at AUC.”
Lee said St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is currently recruiting for new staff and will attend the Care Caribbean Meet-up event in the Netherlands on November 24, where the aim is to recruit locals abroad in the medical field. The event is being hosted by WeConnect and the Asosiashion Mediko di Antias. Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague will represent government at the event.
The new hospital is one of the key focus areas in the National Health Reform (NHR) process of the Ministry. SMMC is pursuing an intensive recruitment initiative, seeking qualified locals who would like to return home to work and help improve the availability of quality care.
Approved building permit
The final phase leading up to the ground breaking for the construction for the new hospital is underway. Lee acknowledged that the building permit process for the new general hospital has been expedited by the respective authorities at the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI, the Fire Department and Police Department. The timely processing of the required documentation and approval of the building permit will ensure that the next phase, the construction of the new hospital, can commence in December as projected.
One of the compliance aspects in relation to the World Bank funding issued to SMMC is an environmental and safety plan ESMP regarding the construction work for the new hospital. SMMC will host a public consultation round where feedback can be given.
This will take place at SMMC patio on Monday, November 26, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. The draft ESMP can be reviewed at www.smmc.sx from November 22, under the “World Bank/Procedures” section.
The construction of the new hospital is projected to be complete within the next four years. As part of the project plan which involves achieving Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation and updating medical equipment and technology, the current staff of SMMC will undergo a series of trainings and development courses as they prepare for the opening.