JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Nineteen new ambulances have been handed over to all four Regional Health Authorities.
  • They were purchased from Toyota Jamaica at a cost of US$884,323.
  • The procurement of the 19 emergency vehicles is part of plans to build on the stock of ambulances.

Nineteen new ambulances have been handed over to all four Regional Health Authorities, as part of Government’s plans to revitalise the country’s emergency vehicle services.

The vehicles were presented to the various Chairpersons of the regional authorities by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during a ceremony held on the grounds of the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston, on September 23.

They were purchased from Toyota Jamaica at a cost of US$884,323, through funding from the National Health Fund (NHF) and will be deployed to the North East Regional Health Authority (four); Southern Regional Health Authority (four); and the Western Regional Health Authority (four).

Those vehicles distributed to the NERHA will serve the Annotto Bay, Port Maria, St. Ann’s Bay and the Port Antonio Hospitals.

Ambulances sent to the SRHA will serve the May Pen, Mandeville Regional, Black River and the Percy Junor Hospitals; while those deployed to the WRHA will serve the Falmouth, Cornwall Regional, Noel Holmes, and the Savanna-La-Mar Hospitals.

Three ambulances were previously distributed to the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), to be utilised by the Princess Margaret, Kingston Public and Spanish Town Hospitals.

Two vehicles will remain at the Ministry of Health and will also be made available in cases of emergency to the SERHA; another will be sent to the Ministry of Finance and Planning; while it has not yet been determined where the final unit will be sent.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister Ferguson said the procurement of the 19 emergency vehicles is part of plans to build on the stock of ambulances in the health sector in an organised way.

“As we go forward, we will put additional ambulances in (the system) annually. So, for those hospitals that will not get in round one, I can assure you that in the next round, you will definitely (benefit),” he said.

Dr. Ferguson also appealed to the hospitals and the drivers to take care of the vehicles, as they are vital to the movement of patients across the island.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, said the ambulances will be used across the island to transport emergency patients, as well as to move patients from various hospitals.

“When we see the landscape in Jamaica, the hills and valleys, from Maroon Town to St. Thomas, it is important that we have a vibrant stock of ambulances across the country,” he said.

Mr. Anderson gave the commitment that with the support of the Minister of Health, the NHF will continue to purchase ambulances until the “country is in a position to respond promptly to all emergencies and to transport patients efficiently across the public health network.”

Chairman of the NERHA, Leon Gordon, who spoke on behalf of the various Chairpersons, expressed gratitude for the emergency vehicles.

He gave the assurance that the ambulances will be regularly serviced and properly maintained.  “You have our full assurance that accountability will be put in place and consequences will be enacted for any breach or abuse of the units,” Mr. Gordon said.