Official address from the Hon. Wendy C. Phipps, Minister of State with Responsibility for Health, in Observance of a Period of Activities Marking the 17th Anniversary of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Fellow Citizens & Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis:

The 12-day period between December 11 and 22, 2016 has been
designated in observance of the 17th Anniversary of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in St. Kitts and Nevis. The activities are being hosted under the theme “Emergency is our name, Medical care is our game, Service Quality is our Aim: Working Together to Make a Difference”. The various activities are meant to:

1) Improve the spirit of pride, camaraderie and teamwork among staff; and

2) Educate the public on pre-hospital emergency care. A historical review of institutionalized emergency medical care in the Federation would reveal that such services would have been introduced in December 1977 when the St. Kitts and Nevis Fire
Services began providing assistance to citizens and residents with First Aid and transportation to the hospital. At that time, the most basic emergency medical services would have been provided. This was confined to the provision of transportation to take patients from the scene of a health emergency directly to the
nearest medical facility in order to receive treatment. This systems continued for some 22 years by our Fire Officers who had Basic First Aid training – which they carried out to the best of their ability.

By December 1999 the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis would have recognized the need for and importance of medical pre-hospital care for trauma or critical patients, given that this would improve the patient’s best chance of survival. As such, the EMS was developed as a pilot project, with an initial staff complement of eight (8) persons trained in pre-hospital medical care and transport. The service was based at JNF General Hospital, with training being provided by Bud Avery of Nova Scotia, Canada. The eight officers were trained in EMT-Basic, the international entry level standard for EMS Departments. Four (4) of the original trainees are still employed on staff at JNF today.
Almost 40 years since its inception, the EMS in St. Kitts and Nevis has evolved considerably. Local capacity has been developed over time, to the point where:

(1) Training of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is done by the In-Service Education Department of the JNF Hospital, for trainees on both St. Kitts and Nevis, including Fire Department personnel;

(2) The EMS in St. Kitts is staffed by 32 persons who are based at
JNF Hospital in Basseterre and Pogson Hospital in Sandy Point;

(3) The EMS staff consists of Attendants, Drivers and Dispatchers;

(4) The skill set of our EMTs include: (a) patient assessment and
examination; (b) oxygen therapy; (c) Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR); (d) initiation of intravenous fluid therapy; (e) airway management; and (f) emergency delivery of babies.

(5) An EMT crew would soon be stationed at Mary Charles Hospital in Molineux as well.

It should be noted that apart from the expanded range of training

received by our EMTs, they also assist with the care of patients in

the Emergency Rooms.

It should be evident to the public that the work of Emergency Medical Staff is not only important – it is also critical to our Federation’s Integrated Emergency Medical Services. I congratulate all of our EMS staff on St. Kitts and Nevis for their vital contribution towards the development and maintenance of health and wellness in our Nation. I also pay tribute to the staff of our In-Service Education Department at JNF Hospital, for their consistently high standards of training delivery to our EMTs. Their Nurse Managers at JNF and Alexandra Hospitals on St. Kitts and Nevis should also be commended for their leadership and management of this essential service to the people of our Country.

Among the various activities being planned in celebration of the 17th Anniversary of our Emergency Medical Services corps are the following:

1) Church Service at Covenant Outreach Church in Phillip’s Village, St. Kitts – held yesterday, Sunday, December 11th;

2) Health Fair on Bank Street – to be held on Wednesday, December 14th;

3) Clean-Up of the Ambulance Parking Lot at JNF Hospital – to be held on Thursday, December 15th;

4) Night Out – to be held on Tuesday, December 20th; and a

5) Simulation Exercise – for which further details will be provided in a subsequent announcement.

The Ministry of Health encourages the general public to come out
and support the various activities being planned by our EMTs, as
a show of appreciation for the important work that they do for all
of us.

As Minister of State with Responsibility for Health I am pleased to
declare the 17th Anniversary celebrations of the Emergency Medical Services officially open.

Thank you for your attention.

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