Barbadians can expect an improved ambulance service with the acquisition by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) of four new ultra-modern emergency response vehicles.
QEH officials gave this assurance today during a brief hand over ceremony at the ambulance service headquarters on Jemmott’s Lane, St Michael.
In accepting the keys to the new Toyota ambulances from Roger Hill, the managing director of Nassco Ltd., Minister of Health John Boyce said the authorities had taken care in buying the best equipment for the island.
He also said that the four ambulances would be put the QEH at a far higher level of response to emergencies in Barbados.
Boyce acknowledged that over the past two years the QEH was running the service with two, four or five ambulances and commended the staff for the delivery of the service under these trying conditions.
He also lauded the private sector for their contribution during this period, although he said “it was at a cost in the region of $20 000 to $50 000 per annum to the QEH”.
“. . . we are grateful that the private sector was able to join us with the Barbados Fire Service, the Regiment and the police on those occasions when it was necessary.”
Boyce also urged management and workers at the Ambulance Service to ensure that the vehicles were treated in the best way possible, adding: “It is the ministry’s intention to revamp the maintenance programme.”
“I want to see the overall programme returned to the engineering department of the ministry so they can oversee the full planning of a thorough preventative maintenance programme and a management programme for the vehicles that will see us sticking as close as possible to a regime that will give us the longest life possible for the vehicles,” the minister said.
Giving details of some of the features of the ambulances, medical consultant and head of the emergency ambulance service Dr David Byer said: “The ambulances are outfitted with the most modern pre-hospital care equipment in trauma as well as non- trauma conditions. They are also outfitted with standard extremity stabilization devices, along with airway and resuscitation devices which are of the highest order.”
Commenting on the recent increase in mass casualties, the senior doctor said: “Over the last couples of months we had four to five mass casualties, a lot more multi-casualties which are less than 12 persons. There has been a tremendous strain, but they have opened our eyes because they occurred at some odd times.
“They have occurred on Saturdays, Sundays, in the early morning and at night. They have allowed us to see where we have any challenges in terms of securing resources. We have worked admirably with other responding agencies and the private sector to face these challenges. It called for strengthening of the system and we are taking that under consideration,” Byer added.