Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Wednesday, 4 February 2015 - 4:00pm

The new Peebles Hospital has scored an “A” on the Hospital Safety Index which was recently applied by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) through its unit for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief.

The Hospital Safety Index is a tool used by PAHO to determine the overall safety of hospitals and determine their likelihood of continued functionality in emergency situations. The safety index was accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 as an international tool for assessing hospital security, taking into consideration its surroundings and the network of health services that exist in each country.

The index considers structural, non-structural and functional factors and has been applied to over 38 hospitals in the Caribbean.

PAHO’s Regional Advisor, Dr. Dana van Alphen said that the excellent score attained by the new Peebles Hospital, puts it among the very few regional hospitals to have attained this high score.

 “The Safety Index Calculator, which is utilised for the final calculations of the degree of resilience to natural hazards, has revealed that the New Peebles Hospital scored an A and is therefore among the top three hospitals that have scored this high rating,” Dr van Alphen explained, adding, “I have been fortunate to get a first-hand view of the new facility and I am truly impressed with the design, layout and the efforts put into the functionality of this new hospital.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges welcomed the assistance from PAHO in the application of the Hospital Safety Index and views it as quite timely given the recent official opening of the facility.

 “It was important that an independent assessment of the new Peebles Hospital be undertaken to determine how well the facility ranked in terms of safety.  The Hospital Safety Index is not only a technical measuring instrument to assess structural, non-structural and functional aspects but it will help guide the way in which the BVI Health Services Authority manages risks and what preventative and mitigation actions are needed to maintain and improve the facility over time,” Dr. Georges stated.

In addition to the application of the Hospital Safety Index, the Green Checklist for Hospitals, recently developed by PAHO, was also applied.  An Energy Audit is also being undertaken and the results will be shared with the Ministry.

Dr. Georges further stated, “This Green Checklist has identified a number of areas where feasible options can be applied to provide a more environmentally friendly operating environment which focuses on conservation activities based on climate-smart standards.  It is our goal to ultimately establish a SMART Hospital by ensuring that the new Peebles Hospital is both safe and green.”

In addition to the evaluation of the new Peebles Hospital, an assessment of all 10 clinics operating throughout the BVI was also completed using the PAHO Guidelines for the Evaluation of Small and Medium sized Health Facilities.  A report on the findings has been provided to the Ministry of Health and Social Development.

The assessments were completed by a team of experts including Mr. Hugo Martinez, a hospital assessor and Biomedical Engineer who has worked with PAHO for over 15 years; Mr Ronnie Lettsome, a local architect and recently certified PAHO regional assessor; Mr. Cecil Jeffrey, Community Relations Officer from the Department of Disaster Management and Mr. Julius Williams of Williams Electronics Services of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who performed the energy audit.

The PAHO SMART Hospital Initiative was developed in 2011 and first piloted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the Georgetown Hospital and in St. Kitts/Nevis at the Pogson Hospital.  To achieve SMART certification, hospitals must among other things, ensure improved resilience in buildings and operations, mitigate their impact on the environment; reduce pollution by improving structural safety; reduce energy and water consumption; improve air quality; strengthen disease surveillance and control.