PRESS RELEASE – HEALTH officers at the Soufriere Hospital averted what could have been a major fire at the facility in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Prompt action by both staff and the fire service allowed for the quick containment of a fire isolated to the records room of the Soufriere Hospital.
The Permanent Secretary and senior staff of the Ministry of Health and Wellness convened an urgent planning and strategizing meeting on Thursday to address the temporary suspension of services at the Soufriere Hospital due to the fire. Dr. Sharon Belmar-George addressed the Ministry of Health’s plan of action.
“The other clinical areas of the hospital were not affected by the fire in terms of the actual burning of the building; it was only the Medial Records Room. However, the smoke has spread to the other areas, making it difficult to provide care at this time. Due to this, the services we usually provide at the Soufriere Hospital have now been relocated to the Etangs Wellness Centre,” Dr. Belmar-George said.
Dr. Belmar-George said that effective immediately a 24-hour service will now be available at the Etangs Wellness Centre to provide primary and urgent care services to people from Soufriere and environs. The Ministry of Health is working closely with other agencies, such as fire and police, which are currently conducting investigations into the cause of the fire.
“As soon as we get the clearance, we will be doing the necessary cleaning, electrical and environmental assessments to ensure that the building is fit for our staff members and also the clients that we serve,” she said. “The Ministry of Health is pleased to indicate that there has been no loss of life or injuries as a result of this fire. The staff members and the patients who were there are all okay. The patients were treated and discharged safely during the incident. We are working with quite a few agencies to try to restore services in a timely manner. We also intend to engage the Mini Bus Association to ensure access to care for people from the Soufriere Hospital who need to get to the Etangs Wellness Centre.”
The Medical Officer of Health also indicated that counseling and debriefing support will be provide to the affected staff who were at the facility during the fire. She called for patience and understanding during this time.
“We are asking the residents of Soufriere and environs to be patient while we work to restore the services in a timely manner. Clients who need further care and management will be transferred to either the St. Jude Hospital or Victoria Hospital for further care,” she said.
The Ministry of Health has committed to provide the public with timely updates on this situation leading up to the eventual resumption of services at the Soufriere Hospital.