Jamaica News: The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), has converted three new buses into ambulances, realising savings of over $10 million.
The new units bring to 14, the number of ambulances serving the health region.
Each vehicle is equipped with heart monitor, stainless steel hand-wash sink with soap dispenser, suction machines, ECG machine, stainless steel dustbin, fog lamps, emergency lights, double nurses’ seats, fire extinguisher, oxygen, bench, stretcher, storage area, non-stick flooring, inverter, plus cupboards to store vital medical equipment, and dashcam.
At the official handover at the Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester on Thursday (June 13), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, commended the SRHA on the initiative.
He also lauded the region’s fleet coordinator, Robert Robinson, who came up with the idea to retrofit three new Toyota buses to fill the need for more ambulances in the region.
“Sometimes we ignore the importance of our support staff. They are absolutely fundamental in terms of saving lives. There is no greater manifestation of that than the ambulance driver when it comes to someone who has a traumatic experience, such as motor-vehicle accident, heart attack or stroke, and must be moved from once place to the next in a timely manner,” Dr. Tufton said.
Mr. Robinson told JIS News that in 2016, he made the proposal to purchase the new 14-seater Toyota buses and convert them to ambulances as “it would be cheaper”.
The overall cost of the three retrofitted ambulances is $30,986,140.29 or $10,328,713.43 each. The current cost of a Toyota ambulance is $14 million.
In addition, it takes six months to deliver a new ambulance, but the retrofitted units were completed in six weeks.
Mr. Robinson said the retrofitting was done locally, but items such as stretchers, sirens and lights were brought into the island by a supplier.
He noted that the dashcam, which is a new feature, acts as a rear-view mirror – a camera for the front as well as a monitoring camera to track the vehicle.
The specifications were added after consultation with the primary users of the ambulances, which are expected to give at least 10 good years of service.
Source: JIS News