The Emergency Ambulance Service has been given a boost with the addition of four new ambulances to its fleet.

During an official handing over ceremony this morning at the old Ministry of Health Building at Jemmotts Lane, St. Michael, Minister of Health, John Boyce, expressed optimism that with the acquisition of the four ambulances there would be a much higher level of response to emergencies in Barbados.

Pointing out that the management and employees of the Emergency Ambulance Service must be credited for ???an excellent job done???, during the period when they would have been short of the normal fleet, Mr. Boyce said there were still varying estimates as to how many ambulances were needed to be able to ???fully deal with all the legitimate calls received.???

However, the Minister noted that disappointingly, they still had to contend with ???a few nuisance calls??? from persons who did not need the service, and he therefore pleaded with Barbadians to accord the ambulance service staff with the kind of respect and importance which they brought to their job.

???I want to commend them for their work especially over the last two years when we have been running between two, four ???[and] occasionally five [ambulances]??? he said.

The Minister also acknowledged the contribution of the private sector in helping the Ministry to meet its targets during this period. He said that although it was at a cost to the hospital, they were ???grateful that the private providers in Barbados were able to join them along with the Barbados Fire Service, the Barbados Regiment and the Police on the occasions when it was necessary.???

He, however, lamented that they still had to provide for those occasions because accidents and mass casualties continued to be events which occurred, and the difference between an accident and a catastrophe ???is how we are able to manage our accidents.

???Again, recent records would show that the Barbados Ambulance Service along with all the voluntary agencies in Barbados, have done very well in responding to these emergencies???So, we are going to be able now to move into a much more comfortable regiment of operation for the ambulance services and I want to use this occasion to urge our employees at the ambulance service and management to make sure these vehicles are treated in the best way possible.???

The ambulances were purchased at a cost of BDS $200,000 from Nassco Co. Ltd.

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