All medical services at the Soufriere Hospital were cancelled and relocated to Etangs Wellness Centre due to a fire in the records room of the hospital in the early hours of Thursday 9th November.

On Tuesday November 14th, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks and senior nursing officers assessed the temporary arrangement put in place at the Etangs Wellness Center to ascertain whether clients are accessing care at the facility.

Officer in Charge of the Soufriere Hospital Nurse Candilia Wilson-Altenor said though the move to Etangs has been challenging the staff have been very cooperative.

However she expressed concern for her regular clients from the hospital.

“Persons from the community have been complaining that it’s quite difficult to get to Etangs Wellness Centre because of the transportation issues. However, they are coming they are utilizing the centre. We’re not seeing the regular influx of clients that we normally see at Soufriere Hospital. We’re seeing small numbers, so we are a bit concerned especially with our COPD clients, our maternity cases, our mentally ill clients, our diabetics, our hypertensive clients that we see regularly we’re not seeing them so we are concerned that they are not getting the kind of medicals attention that we would normally give to these persons. However, we are doing the best that we can under the circumstances.”

Up to the time of the visit the hospital had not been handed over the Ministry of Health pending completion of the police investigation into the cause of the fire. However a meeting with the Soufriere police yielded positive news that the hospital can be reoccupied by staff except for the records room in which the fire occurred and was contained. The Chief Medical Officer express her gratitude to the residents of Soufriere and Environs for their patience and understanding.

“The Ministry of Health has a positive update after our visit and discussions with the relevant stakeholders. We have been granted access to the Soufriere Hospital so we are anticipating that by 7am tomorrow (Wednesday 15th November) we will be resuming service at the Soufriere Hospital.

“But, in the interim we would like to remind patients and patrons that from tonight 24hr service is available at the Etangs Wellness Centre but we’re certainly hoping that by tomorrow 7am persons from Soufriere will again be able to access services at the Soufriere Hospital.”

The Chief Medical Officer also expressed her gratitude to the hard working medical, nursing and ancillary staff of the Soufriere Hospital for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure medical services continued for clients of the Soufriere Hospital.