PRESS RELEASE: The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is aware of a publication by various media houses regarding a traffic accident which took place on Friday 5th August 2022 in Fig Tree Drive.

In the various media reports, it is being alleged that the Antigua Barbuda Emergency Medical Services (ABEMS) took a while to arrive on the scene which resulted in the driver and other coworkers of the vehicle from which the patient initially fell transported him to the hospital and was met by the Ambulance in the vicinity of the Townhouse Megastore.

The Ministry investigated the allegations and would like to inform the public of the facts in this particular matter.

• The ABEMS received the call from the Public Safety Network (911) through EMS dispatch at 3.52pm

• At the time of receiving the call, two ambulances and the rapid response unit that were on shift at the time were out in the field attending to other emergencies

• Once those calls were completed, the first available ambulance responded immediately to the scene of the accident at 4.08pm

• The Ambulance intercepted the vehicle transporting the patient in the vicinity of the Townhouse Megastore at 4:11pm

• The patient was transferred to the Ambulance and necessary interventions made by the Emergency Medical Technicians

• The ABEMS left the scene at 4:15pm and the patient was handed over to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre Emergency Room at 4:19pm

• The length of time from receiving the call from the Public Safety Network (911) to the patient being handed over to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre was 26 minutes

• The timeframe from when the ABEMS received the call from 911to when the patient was handed over to the Hospital is considered to be acceptable by international standards

Notwithstanding, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment and the Management of the Antigua Barbuda Emergency Medical Services would like to express our deepest condolences to the family on the passing of their loved one.

Meanwhile, the ABEMS is concerned about the level of non-emergency calls that are requesting the ambulatory services. From January 1st to July 31st, 2022, the ABEMS received 7,841 calls.

The department receives on average, 35 calls per day and of these calls, only 20% are genuine emergencies. This practice, plays a major factor in the logistical challenges of response time to such emergencies.

The ABEMS, upon receiving calls from the Public Safety Network (911) has a responsibility to respond to every call since every call is treated as a genuine emergency until proven otherwise.

Even if after assessing the situation upon arrival it is determined by the Emergency Medical Technicians that it is not a genuine emergency, the ABEMS has a responsibility to still transfer the patient to the hospital once they request it.

We are therefore imploring members of the public to desist from this practice so that the ABEMS can continue to provide the best possible pre-hospital care to those persons who are genuinely in need of emergency assistance.