Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton announced that it is still the Government’s intention to deliver an ambulance boat to the sister island residents.
The Minister while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Nurse Iris O’Neal medical centre stated that the plans still stand: “We have heard the cries of nurses, emergency responders, patients and their families about the challenges endured because of the absence of a reliable mode of medical transportation. Our long-term vision is to one day commission a purpose-built ambulance boat and helicopter service for medical evacuations.”
In the meantime, Hon. Skelton said that he is happy to report that repairs have been completed on the Motor Vessel Vigilant II, which will be used for emergency medical transfers from Virgin Gorda to Tortola.
“The vessel required more extensive repairs than we realised when it was first handed over to us, and the repair work took a lot longer than expected. The boat is now sea-worthy, and we are making final arrangements to hire a captain and crew to operate it in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Services Department,” Hon. Skelton noted.
During the NDP Radio Program on 3 November, the Minister stated that the vessel which had been purchased during the previous NDP Administration is outfitted, and able to transfer patients on stretchers.