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February 09, 2011 - Provo, Turks and Caicos Islands


Two brand new ambulances are set to hit the streets of Provo. The state-of-the-art vehicles have arrived on island and are expected to go into service by the end of the month.

Both are packed full of the very latest in medical equipment, including high-tech stretchers and anti-bacterial fittings.

“We are delighted to have obtained these two brand new vehicles, which will be a huge asset to health care in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Human Services Judith Campbell. “It’s a key milestone for the Ministry of Health and a positive outcome to what has been a priority issue. Modern, extensively equipped vehicles such as these will ultimately help save lives — something that is simply priceless.”

The purchase of the ambulances, which cost $85,000 each, brings to an end an embarrassing chapter for the interim government.

Over recent months, the country’s existing medical response vehicles have been beset by mechanical problems, forcing them off the road for long periods. In fact, as recently as December, a hired mini-bus with blacked out windows was being used. “These have been trying times for the Turks and Caicos Emergency Medical Services (EMS),” said Campbell. “We have all been frustrated by the lack of working equipment, but we can now look forward with confidence and pride.”

The flame red Ford diesel E350’s, which come with 12-month warranties, had originally been ordered from Canadian suppliers, Demers, for military duty in the Middle East. But after the customer changed its mind, the government was able to snap them up at a much-reduced price.

EMS Paramedic Supervisor Pat Riel said he and his staff were looking forward to operating the new ambulances.

“They really are state-of-the-art, and they even include specially treated walls, floors and ceilings that make it almost impossible for bacteria to breed and that is certainly an amazing development in terms of modern day ambulances,” he said.

Riel says all EMS staff are now undertaking mandatory driver training, after which the vehicles will be freshly sign-written and then go into service on the streets of Providenciales.

The current stock of ambulances in the TCI will now undergo rigorous repairs and maintenance, and the plan is to then ensure that every other island has an emergency response vehicle at its disposal, Riel added.

Meanwhile, bosses at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre have also welcomed the arrival of the new vehicles.

“The EMS teams provide sterling service to the community and have proven extremely flexible in working under difficult circumstances,” InterHealth Canada TC CEO Roger Cheesman.

“These purchases by the TCI government and the executive team at the Ministry of Health will enable the EMS teams to serve with even greater efficiency and moves the overall healthcare system of country one step forward.”