May 2, 2008
Ambulance service and security at hospital to be addressed

The local ambulance service is a sore thumb for the hospital, but hospital boss Fitz Jones says that steps should be taken in the right direction by year’s end.{{more}}

A medical source told SEARCHLIGHT that the hospital has continually received complaints about the efficiency and professionalism of the ambulance service, and this source admitted that what exists as an ambulance service is a far cry from what should be.

Topping the list of concerns is that the drivers of ambulances here are just that, drivers, not paramedics as they should be, and the nurses are not Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), as they should be.

“What happens is when we get a call, a nurse on duty is sent with the ambulance, so if the call is someone fainted, but it turns out that it is a heart attack, that’s a problem,” our source explained.

Hospital Administrator Jones agrees, and told SEARCHLIGHT that emergency personnel in ambulances is one of the key proposals that will be forwarded for consideration for the next budget.

“Ambulances should be equipped with emergency workers,” Jones said.

Jones said that this lack of training in emergency care could be the reason why some attendants may slip up when carrying about their duties on ambulances.

“It could be a matter of ignorance,” he admitted.

Jones said that the hospital is engaged in discussions with external sources about this training, and he is confident that the proposal will be ready by budget time.

On another note, arrangements are being made to have ambulances leaving the scene of violent crimes, especially when the victim is still alive, always be escorted by police.

Another change that will be coming at the hospital is in the area of security, Jones confirmed.

He said that while gradual changes are being made, things are going way too slowly in this regard.

He pointed to the new sign indicating the new security measures that have been erected in the wake of March’s bomb scare that forced the evaluation of the hospital.

He said the sign is part of the public education, because while persons admit there is a problem with security, they often resist the efforts made to beef it up.

“The next step I want to see is when persons coming into the hospital will have to bring their Identification cards and say the nature of their business at the hospital,” Jones said.

He also lamented that while the hospital should have only one entrance, there are several “weak points” from where people can have access.

Jones, who has been on the job for six months, told SEARCHLIGHT an overall assessment of the security needs of the Hospital will be made, and changes will be made as time goes along.

SEARCHLIGHT is reliably informed that the current security provider’s contract is up in July, and any negotiation of a new contract, whether with them or a new provider, will involve more personnel than the four that are currently deployed at the hospital.