(PRESS RELEASE) – The Ministry of Health and Wellness called an urgent planning and strategizing meeting at its main office this morning, Nov. 9, on the heels of an early morning fire at the Soufriere Hospital.
Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, spoke briefly on the situation, the ministry’s response, and intervention measures for the hospital’s clients as services are now temporary relocated.
“Officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness were alerted after 3 a.m. this morning of a fire at the Soufriere hospital. Due to the quick response of the staff at the institution and the Saint Lucia Fire Service, the fire was confined to the medical records room,” she said. “The other clinical areas of the hospital were not affected by the fire [flames], however, the smoke had spread to other areas making it difficult to provide care. Due to this, the services which we normally provide at the Soufriere hospital have now been relocated to the Etangs Wellness Centre, where we will provide both primary, and urgent care services. We have also extended the hours at the Etangs Wellness Centre to ensure 24-hour access to care. Effective immediately, the Etangs Wellness Centre is open 24 hours to ensure care and service for persons of the Soufriere area and its environs.
“We are also working with other agencies. Presently the Soufriere hospital is in the hands of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force for investigation. As soon as we receive clearance, we will undertake cleanup, electrical assessments and environmental assessments to ensure that the building is fit for the staff members and the clients that we serve.
“In addition, we are working with quite a few other agencies to restore services in a timely manner. We intend to engage the Minibus Association to ensure access to care for persons who need to travel from the Soufriere hospital to the Etangs Wellness Centre, and we also intend to provide the necessary interventions for staff who were at the facility during the incident.
“We have already had discussions with the St. Jude Hospital and the Victoria Hospital. Because Soufriere hospital provided urgent care support, clients who need further care and management will be transferred to either of the two hospitals for further care.
“The Ministry of Health is pleased to report that there has been no loss of life, nor injuries sustained due to the fire. Both the staff members and the patients are all safe. The patients were treated and discharged safely during the incident.
“The Ministry of Health is asking residents of Soufriere to be patient while we work to restore services in a timely manner.”