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Elevator replacement at the General Hospital will take at least one year

The promised upgrade to the outdated elevator system at the St. George’s General Hospital as announced by Health Minister Nickolas Steele in the latter half of 2019 will take longer than expected.

Minister Steele told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing on Tuesday that the process is expected to take approximately one year.

In December, he announced that “clearance” was given in the 2020 budget from Cabinet to replace the elevators at the General Hospital, noting that “there are only two or three suppliers of elevators within the region.”

The senior government minister had announced back then that a provider whose name was not revealed had been chosen for procurement of the elevators.

“We have chosen a provider and they will start the extraction of the old and preparation of the shaft for the installation of the new elevator no sooner than March because the elevator takes about three to four months to be manufactured. So, when they know (that) it’s on the way then they will come and start to prepare and things like that,” he said.

“I (am) really disappointed (that) this is going to be a lengthy process… because we have two elevators at the General Hospital – it will take some time (and) one will have to be removed and then a new elevator put in and after that is complete, work can be done on the second elevator shaft to remove and then replace.

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According to the minister, the decision was taken to pursue the installment along those lines in order “to ensure that at no time there is the occasion or risk of not having a functioning elevator at the General Hospital.”

In December last year, the Health Minister announced a “$1.5 m budget” towards the upgrade of the hospital elevator system.

In his update on Tuesday, he reiterated the dire need for the elevators to be replaced at this time.

“Those elevators are well past their shelf life (and) we have embarked over the previous years on efforts to maintain them but in our opinion it is now time to replace those elevators,” said Minister Steele.