Bustamante Hospital in need of expansion
Anthony Wood, chief executive at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), says that the addition of a new ambulance to the fleet at the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) will lead to better service delivery but noted that the lack of bed space is the most pressing challenge facing the region's premier child-health facility.
Two Hiace buses were purchased from the Toyota Jamaica dealership at a cost of $5 million each and retrofitted at Jamaica Fibreglass at a combined cost of $2 million. The Princess Margaret Hospital in Portland is to receive the other.
Wood said that he was delighted with the efforts of the regional health authority, noting that it was important that the hospital is able to offer professional and dedicated service. He said that the ambulances were an important part of the top-quality service delivery the hospitals strive to offer.
"There is no doubt that the addition of this ambulance to our fleet will help us improve our service delivery here and in the southeast region, but of far more critical importance is the need for more space," said Wood.
NOT A UNIQUE SITUATION
"This is not just an experience for Bustamante because I can make reference to overseas facilities, where space is also a challenge. But there has not been any major addition to the bed space at this facility since 1991," he said.
The BHC is a 283-bed facility with more than 600 medical and non-medical support staff. It was established in 1963 and serves approximately 36,000 outpatients and 70,000 casualties per year.
However, the population explosion has seen little expansion being done on the facility, which once served as the British Military Hospital, although some amount of work was done to add space after Hurricane Gilbert ravaged Jamaica in 1988.
"We have outgrown our capacity over the years, and so now, we are looking towards expansion in terms of constructing some more wards," stated Wood.
Capacity is the institution's biggest challenge
Efforts made over the years by the Shaggy and Friends Foundation to benefit the Bustamante Hospital for Children have been good, according to Anthony Wood, chief executive at the hospital. However, he said that while improvements were being made in medical equipment, there is need for infrastructural advancements.
"Capacity, for us, is the biggest challenge because the last infrastructure development we have here took place in 1991, and that was after Hurricane Gilbert had severely damaged the hospital," Wood said.
Acting SERHA Transportation Manager Aldene Stewart-Miller added that the acquisition of the vehicles represented the region's intention to offer the best service.
"I am very happy that we have decided to add to our fleet. They were needed because at times, we were stretched to provide ambulance service, so it is a welcomed addition both at Princess Margaret and Children's," she said.
Maureen Golding, SERHA regional director, said that the new ambulances would significantly aid service delivery, primarily at the Princess Margaret Hospital, where it was common practice for patients to rely heavily on private ambulance services.
"And those were not quite reliable at all. So this is a great improvement on that," she stated.