Old ambulances to return to service – Boyce

A new headquarters has been found for the ambulance service. And Minister of Health John Boyce, who made that announcement on Friday, said while financial constraints may be preventing Government from sourcing new ambulances, some of the older vehicles will be overhauled and put back in operation.

He disclosed that the Emergency Ambulance Service (EAS) will be headquartered at the former R. R. Donnelley building in Wildey, St Michael, next door to the Edgar Cochrane Polyclinic. However, he did not give a timeline for the relocation of the department from the Ministry of Health building in Jemmots Lane, Bridgetown.

Boyce said the facility is in a central location and will also be used for training, among other activities for staff.

He made the disclosures as he contributed to a parliamentary debate on the divestment of a parcel of land in Arch Hall, St Thomas, to the National Housing Corporation for residential development.

The Minister said Government was aware of the challenges facing the EAS as a result of limitations with equipment and human resources, and gave the assurance that they would be addressed.

Boyce said part of government’s plan for the EAS is the introduction of a roving ambulance unit at the newly refurbished Arch Hall Fire Station in St Thomas, which is scheduled to be opened next Friday.

Exactly one year ago, two new ambulances were added to the fleet at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), at a cost of $190,000 each, bringing the number of functional ambulances to seven and the total fleet to 11 at that time. Boyce said there are now eight operational ambulances.

“I want to make it very clear that I am not one of these persons who subscribe to the view that from the time a vehicle or piece of equipment is eight-years-old or ten-years-old it must be replaced by something new. I think we may not want to go to the extent of the Cuban situation where the renovation and rehabilitation in that country has been one which has seen . . . models of the 1940s still operating completely retrofitted,” he said.

However, Boyce said, Barbadians need to “get to grips with the fact that as a management team we have to put in place arrangements which will see not only the eight ambulances continue to operate effectively, but that the almost matching eight ambulances which are just a little older than many of these so-called new ambulances [are] properly repaired and available for use in a decentralized ambulance service”.

Boyce said he has already urged the management of the QEH that as part of its plans, the country “must have those ambulances that are not too old, repaired and being able and road worthy and effective, to help to augment the availability of vehicular fleet for this important service”.

“In this regard, too, I have made it clear that we need to take advantage of local entrepreneurs who want to take part in this exercise,” added Boyce.

He also acknowledged the need to boost personnel at the ambulance service but pointed out the limitations facing Government.

“I think it is now a fact that there are some 65 staff members directly associated with the operations of the Emergency Ambulance Service, and even as we contemplate this reality we recognize the need to expand those numbers and the only constraint to taking action in that direction immediately would be having the financial resources to support such a move,” Boyce explained.

12 Responses to Old ambulances to return to service – Boyce

  1. Tony Webster May 13, 2017 at 11:18 am

    We just “found” a spare $500,000 lying around somewhere idle, and used it for road-tennis “development”.

  2. Sue Donym May 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    PLANS for more working SSA trucks; PLANS to resurrect Transport Board buses; PLANS to resuscitate QEH ambulances… I trust that in keeping with these policies, we’ll see action to prolong the use of MP and ML vehicles. Or is that wishful thinking? Might it be more important to have shiny, new vehicles at the beck and call of ministers – and family members and other “dependants” – than to have life-saving equipment and a reliable means of transporting our workforce. All hail the productivity champions!

  3. Janelle Marshall
    Janelle Marshall May 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    What you need to do is get the damn QEH running smoothly, efficiently and train the frontline workers in customer service. Hire more Doctors if you have a shortage. Have a sepeeate area and a team of docrots5 to deal with issues within a certain category so that persons who come for non-emeegencies xan be seen and go home in a timely manner instead of working two and three shifts alongaide the guards. Also get all of the operating theatres in blasted working order. People waiting in line for surgeries to alleviate their problems and save lives that is what. Have a good day

  4. Milli Watt May 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    ohhhhhhhhhh….first option is to mash up and buy back but when there is no money to lick out you repair and use hmmmmmmmmmmm well well well

    • ATD May 13, 2017 at 9:03 pm


      well said. Bad spending as usual.

  5. Sheron Inniss May 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I would also like to see the EAS as part of the long term strategy to have a decentralized system in place. When I did First Aid my instructor responded to a query about timing like this – God help the person coming from too far; they will arrive dead at QEH.

  6. Sheron Inniss May 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I would like to see a decentralization of the EAS as time goes on. Depending on the seriousness of the emergency the person(s) may be dead on arrival at the QEH.

  7. Sheron Inniss May 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    if wunnuh don’t like me tell me so. that’s alright ’cause i loves myself. the truth sets you free and at 52+ i tell it as i see it. been doing it all my life. was once told i did not know the meaning of diplomacy. my response was yuh mean telling lies. can’t work. that is why i could never be a lawyer/politician. the proof out there for a blind man to see.

  8. hcalndre May 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    First things first, there is no set response time, so if or when you call, there is no guarantee that you will get an ambulance. What ever became of the 3 wheel carts that I heard they got from some Sheikh in the middle east, that could not accommodate the stretchers. How long do the politicians keep the vehicles before they are deem old?

  9. Sheron Inniss May 13, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    wunnuh really want people to believe i’m crazy? that can work too – more out than in. i post the 3:46pm one right after the 1st post was taking too long to be reviewed. i multi-task. i prepared and cooked a meal and hung out and picked up the washing.

  10. glen May 13, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Every ambulance has on board communications equipment to speak directly to doctors at the hospital. The entire philosophy is to treat and transport. We have professional EMT’s as well as certified paramedics. Speed is not a factor neither should distance be. Communicating as a team will preserve life. A good example of this is a mass casualty response, where doctors are now ferried to the scene of the incident, patients triaged and dispatched appropriately, whether to the QEH or other medical facilities. The doctors also communicate directly to those medical facilities for the patients arrival.

    A decentralized service would aid in shorter response times, which would help, but for now we can manage ably with what obtains.

    Currently ambulances don’t even have to be at base to be dispatched as there is a priority response designation. Even re-routing occurs. So we’ll be ok.

  11. hewers of wood May 13, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Forget the ambulance – with all of the earth and ocean changes, the QEH should be moved away from Bridgetown. Keep watching.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *