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Emergency services to undergo $600K revamp

Emergency services in New Providence are set to undergo a major revamp.

Guardian Business has learned that, in the next eight months, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) plans to upgrade its existing fleet of emergency vehicles, increase staff, bolster its technology and begin zoning the territories to facilitate fast, more responsive medical assistance to the public.

The managing director of PHA, Hubert Brown, said at least $600,000 must be invested to accomplish this goal.

“Ground transportation is critical to what we do,” he insisted.

“If we can’t get the patients to the hospital quick enough, nothing else really matters. It’s a fundamental point.”

Although there is an existing fleet of 13 vehicles, hospital officials admitted as of last weekend that just two were fully operational. Brown told Guardian Business that “many of them need to be replaced”.

And over the course of the next eight months, these vehicles will be “phased out” to bring in at least five state-of-the-art ambulances – each at a cost in excess of $105,000.

Perhaps most significant to the revamp, however, is the move by PHA to create an organized zoning program for emergency services. For example, PHA is now working with the Nassau Airport Development Company to provide a dedicated ambulance, which will be assigned to the airport at all times. The idea, Brown said, is to have reliable and efficient support as

Lynden Pindling International Airport undergoes its dramatic expansion, as higher volumes of people are expected.

Elizabeth Estates Clinic, South Beach Clinic, Flamingo Gardens and Paradise Island are among the other specific depots for ambulance services. The main hub, or central location, will be located at First Terrance, Brown added.

Meanwhile, the new ambulances will be outfitted with the latest 4G technology, the senior hospital administrator revealed, taking advantage of Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation’s (BTC) latest strides.

BTC intends of rolling out 4G services for everyday use before Christmas, according to executives at the company.

“Based on the upgrading going on at BTC, we will be in a position to allow the department and hospital to monitor what is going on in the ambulance in real time,” Brown explained. “They can be monitored en route and can be physically seen inside the ambulance at the hospital. We can even perform tests from the hospital, such as checking their pulse.”

All told, it will require at least $600,000 to bring emergency response systems up to code – and the investment has become particularly important given the rise of crime and trauma in Nassau.

The actual emergency teams will rise in number and include more members.

These new jobs, according to Brown, will come from the government’s National Jobs and Retraining Programme. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced at the critical care block’s groundbreaking this month that 160 individuals will embark on special training immediately to prepare them for work in medical services.

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