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Ambulances to be decentralized

Wade Gibbons

Ambulances to be decentralized

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THE EMERGENCY AMBULANCE SERVICE (EAS) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is to be decentralized.
Following a successful pilot project where an ambulance was stationed at the Arch Hall Fire Station in St Thomas, Minister of Health Donville Inniss told the SATURDAY SUN yesterday the service would now be decentralised as a matter of policy.
He said that from this week ambulances would also be stationed at the Worthing, Christ Church and St John Fire Stations.  
“Our efforts are geared towards reducing the response time for ambulances. Currently, when ambulances stationed in Bridgetown have to compete with traffic at peak time, it can take up to 45 minutes to reach St Lucy or the farthest point in St Philip. 
“This is not acceptable today and our goal is to reduce that response time by as much as 50 per cent. This will translate into improved patient care and could save lives,” he explained.
Inniss said a report on the pilot project at Arch Hall had been submitted and an analysis of the emergency calls based on geographical locations had led to a determination that decentralization was the way to go. He noted increasing population density in the north of the island, as well as Christ Church and St Philip in particular, necessitated such a move.
Inniss stated the policy was being carried outin collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, the administrative staff in the two ministries, QEH, EAS, Barbados Fire Service, and the workers’ labour representative. He said all parties would meet and work out the details to make the policy effective.
He revealed that QEH and EAS officials, along with Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall, had joined him on a tour of the fire stations at Worthing, Arch Hall and Probyn Street on Tuesday to look at the facilities.
“On the tour we looked at the accommodations for the ambulance workers and there are adequate male and female facilities, and accommodation for the ambulances, especially at Arch Hall. The facilities are not yet perfect but we will eventually get there,” he said, adding that in the future, construction of fire stations would take into account accommodations for ambulance services.
He also noted that following the flooding of the EAS’ headquarters at Jemmott’s Lane earlier in the week, staffers were temporarily accommodated at the Enmore building.
He stated the QEH was currently renovating a building at Jemmott’s Lane to locate the headquarters and this was due for completion early next month.
He added it would serve as the EAS’ headquarters “until otherwise decided”.