Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, today praised the Queen Elizabeth Hospital???s (QEH) management team for its efforts at strengthening the hospital???s ability to respond to various types of emergencies.
And, he noted that while some successes were reached, there were still some areas that needed to be ???ironed out???, especially through simulations.
He made these comments moments before signing an agreement which saw the QEH receiving 13 portable radios from the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) to boost their communication capabilities during an emergency.
Mr. Brathwaite admitted that simulations would cause disruptions at times, but stressed that they were necessary as one could not wait until there was an event to see if established plans worked.
The Minister added that in recent years, he noticed a more determined attempt by the QEH???s management to ensure that there was business continuity and a managed response to any form of emergency.
Chief Executive Officer of the QEH, Dr. Dexter James, said they were working closely with the DEM and other support agencies such as the Barbados Defence Force, the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Barbados Fire Service, to ensure their plans were ready and could ???stand the test of time??? during an event.
He added that the hospital???s boardroom was the designated Incident Command Centre, and was upgraded with telephone lines for the different members of the Centre and a projector, among other things.
???We now have radio communication which will enhance our infrastructure. It will allow for communication within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital environment as well as communications with the Department of Emergency Management,??? Dr. James indicated.
Director of the DEM, Judy Thomas, explained that the presentation of radios would ensure that there was telecommunications connectivity in the emergency management system between the DEM, which runs the National Emergency Operations Centre, and the QEH, considered to be a very critical facility in Barbados.
She noted that areas in need of support at the hospital were identified, including the lack of communications capability between the two departments. ???[As a result], we sought from our resources and our influence to procure telecommunications equipment for the QEH to boost a national emergency system,??? Ms. Thomas stated.
The Director added that the kind of work done by the QEH was the ???perfect example??? of the kind of collaboration the DEM expects to get from all the other corporate entities and agencies in the emergency management system.
???No longer can it be seen that the DEM is a place over and above everybody else???but it is very much the leadership in the emergency management system???,??? she said.
The radios provide the hospital with island-wide coverage and also have a redundancy built into the arrangement, so that if one of the channels goes down, there is still a backup channel for DEM.