Wicsu questions new ambulance directive

POSTED: 07/22/13 11:52 AM

St. Maarten – The Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/ Private Sector Union (Wicsu/PSU) says that its extremely concerned with reports that it has received from some of it members who are ambulance personnel that their involvement in pre-hospital care will be quite limited now.

Union president Derie Leonard told Today that it’s more than a bit strange that the EMS officers will only be allowed to transport patients but not administer medication, if warranted. She gleaned this information from reports that the head of the Inspectorate of Public Health and Labor Dr. Earl Best issued such a directive.
“This was a decision made by Dr. Best that they cannot administer any medication, just pick up the patients and take them to the hospital. I just want the public to know that this decision that Dr. Best made, I guess is in the interest of the public, however I do not want my members to be held responsible if anything happens to a patient on their way to the hospital because of this decision that was taken,” Leonard stated.
Today attempted to reach Dr. Best our efforts proved futile. An emailed enquiry of the following was also unresponsive.
“Wicsu is alleging that its members within the ambulance department were instructed by the Inspectorate not to administer any medication as part of its pre- hospital care to patients. The department’s sole responsibility would be to just transport patients to the SMMC. Is this true? If yes what is the motivation behind this decision? Can you also clearly outline what the ambulance protocol would now be if such a change has been made?” the email to Dr. Best asked.
Leonard, who is currently attending a Caribbean Public Service Association Conference in St. Lucia, says that when she returns to the island she will request a meeting with the head of the ambulance department Cylred Richardson and Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever.
If indeed changes in the standard operating procedure for ambulance personnel have taken place, the union says it was not officially informed about this new directive from any public health official. It was on Wednesday that Leonard said that the matter was first brought to her attention.
“It is a very serious matter because we are talking about people’s lives. This could place the people’s life in jeopardy and the ambulance workers life in jeopardy. I do not want anything to happen nor no foul up because someone didn’t do their job,” the union leader added.

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