An injured student of the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division being transported from the Road Town ferry dock to the Peebles Hospital on June 18, 2012.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Soon, a boat for emergency evacuations will be up and running to serve residents on the Sister Islands, announced Hon. Ronnie Skelton, Minister for Health and Social Development.
The Minister, who was responding to concerns raised by Hon. Julian Fraser, Third District Representative in the House of Assembly on Thursday, July 26 about the healthcare system in the Territory, said the boat will be stationed on Virgin Gorda.
"The Premier is now giving me the boat that was purchased for the emergency evacuations for the Sister Islands, Virgin Gorda. They have bought an engine, trying to get it fixed and the boat will be stationed on Virgin Gorda so it can transport the people from over there to over here," he said.
Following the stabbing incident in June involving a student, renewed concerns over the transportation of sick and injured persons from Virgin Gorda to Tortola resurfaced. The teenager, who received a stab wound to the left side of his chest on June 18 outside the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division, had to be transported to the Peebles Hospital via ferry for medical attention.
Premier Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith, following the incident, stated that the Minister of Health is already working on bringing the establishment of a mini-hospital to fruition on Virgin Gorda. He said some work was done a few years ago on initiating an ambulance boat and they were seeking to resuscitate that effort.
At Thursday's sitting of the House, Minister Skelton said the Government is working on a number of things to ensure that the Territory has an improved healthcare system and slammed Hon. Fraser, who he said should have done something to improve the sector while he was a Minister under the former Government.
"It's not like this Government is sitting here and not doing anything; we are doing something about these situations. We are not playing games. Member for the Third talk about healthcare; I know he cares about healthcare, but I don't understand why when he was sitting here he didn't do something about it...The Members for the Third and First, who were Ministers, they should have paid keener attention to the healthcare system; we would have been further ahead...But to stand here tonight and make it look like all is lost, that is the further from the truth. We and I will continue to ensure we build a healthcare system," Minister Skelton stated.
He also took a jab at Hon. Fraser and stated that he could not pay attention to such vital things since he was focusing on BiWater.
"The National Health Insurance that should have already gone in place to help the very people the Member of the Third is talking about should have already been done, but he was concentrating too much on Biwater, green water and whatever else water that he missed the boat on these important issues of the country," he said.
Further, the Health Minister told the House that they have been able get a number of things streamlined and done in a short space of six to eight months.
"You have been to the hospital; the people for the outpatient care were sitting on top of each other. In the space of six months we created an environment that the people could feel more comfortable. We have two ambulances on order."
He also spoke about his recent visit to Panama and Jamaica.
...I was in Panama, in Puerto Rico and Jamaica, trying to make arrangements so that when things happen to our people here, that they can get there, but it cost money. These things are not going to be free, but for us to sit here in this House and get our people to believe that healthcare can be free and at every level is not right," the Minister stated.