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Hospital Director says petrol station poses serious threat to Milton Cato Memorial Hospital

Hospital Director says petrol  station poses serious threat to Milton Cato Memorial Hospital


The petrol station next door to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) would be promptly relocated if Hospital Administrator Fitz Jones could have his way.{{more}}

Jones raised the concern at a recent press conference which he called to discuss matters relating to the Hospital’s response in the case of “non-health care” related emergencies like a natural disaster or a fire.

This, as the health sector celebrated World Health Day on Tuesday, April 7, under the theme “Health facilities in emergencies”.

“It presents a danger to the hospital,” said Jones, as he referred to the St Vincent Automotive Co-operative Society Limited operated petrol station.

Jones said that in the case of an explosion, the fuel station could pose a serious threat to the Hospital’s Laboratory, which is near enough to cause concern.

“Efforts must be made to have one of the two of them (the fuel station or the MCMH) relocated,” Jones said, with a sarcastic smile which followed the comment.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted Brian John of Chevron Texaco, the company that owns the fuel station, he said that he did not wish to comment.

Meanwhile, Jones also voiced concern about vehicles which are sometimes parked outside the hospital entrances which are not in regular use.

He said that in the case of an emergency, a disaster can unfold because drivers of these vehicles can’t be found.

Jones said that the hospital has appealed to the police to put a stop to this practice.

Jones also spoke out against the practice by minibus operators who stop in front the hospital entrance to let off and take up passengers.

Recently the MCMH introduced a system where National Identification Cards must be shown at the gate by visitors, a rule to which some people have been taking offence, Jones said.

But according to him, this measure is more than a security issue, but also one of emergency management.

“If part of the building collapses, it is one way we can track who was in the hospital,” he suggested.

Among the other emergency management measures implemented at the MCHM is the service record – which Jones said was implemented under his tenure at the hospital.

He said that in the event of a problem with something like the generator, he will be able to say when it was serviced and instantly be able to say whether his technicians were at fault.

The MCMH is also in need of additional storage facilities.

Jones said that the health authorities have been looking at an off-site location to address this problem.

Additionally, plans are afoot to have patient records electronically stored and backed up off-site, Jones said.

Jones also told reporters that another area of concern to him is that of the hospital’s oxygen supply.

Only 24 per cent of the health system’s (including clinics) oxygen need is met in St Vincent, while the bulk of oxygen is imported from Barbados and Trinidad.

It costs $6,600 per week to supplement the hospital’s oxygen supply, Jones explained.

He said that the oxygen concentrator at the hospital is inadequate and the authorities are working on getting a larger one.

Members of staff are not being left out of this push to make the hospital emergency ready – ongoing workshops are being held to acquaint the staff with the hospital emergency plan.