Barbadians can look forward to an improved Emergency Ambulance Service.
A series of improvements, including the “permanent” decentralisation of the service, the purchase or leasing of four new ambulances, and finalising “a permanent location for the ambulance service” were among the changes planned.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss outlined the plans in the House of Assembly today as Parliament debated and approved about $50 million in supplementary funding for the health sector.
“We recognise and we commend … the decision of the former Government that an ambulance should be stationed at Arch Hall Fire Station. That was a pilot project and we can say safely that it has been a success and as a result of that and other information gleaned from research, as a Cabinet we have decided that … decentralisation should become a permanent feature of the ambulance service,” he said.
“That is not going to happen overnight; we recognise the current challenges faced by the Emergency Ambulance Service in terms of their own accommodation and that is being addressed as we speak.
“I met with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the ambulance service recently on that matter and we are working as a team to find … a permanent location for the ambulance service while at the same time ensuring that decentralisation is as smooth as possible, not disadvantageous to the staff and certainly meets what we wish to have met by way of decentralisation,” he added.
The St. James South MP said the plan was to pursue the decentralisation in partnership with the Barbados Fire Service, “but not necessarily entirely with them”.
“Of course this also means that we have to procure additional ambulances and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has already taken a decision this financial year to lease or buy four new ambulances, while at the same time ensuring that we improve upon the preventative aspect of our ambulance service, and also to continue and expand wherever possible the training of our paramedics and emergency medical technicians, who work therein,” he noted.
Inniss added that officials had “also embraced a view that we need to have more first responders trained in Barbados and that is something that the Ministry of Health has taken on board and has fully endorsed across the system”. (SC)