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Shuttle service to St. Maarten health facilities available as of today


~ Available from 6:00am to 8:00pm daily ~

CAY HILL–Persons who need to go to one of the medical facilities in the Cay Hill area will now have access to a reliable shuttle service that will be taking people to and from the various institutions as of today, Saturday.

Two shuttles, a 15-seater bus and a 13-seater caravan, will be transporting persons to and from the vicinity of Teke Teke Grill and Le Grand Marché parking lot to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), Mental Health Foundation (MHF), St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) and Baby Clinic. The service will run from 6:00am to 8:00pm daily. Passengers will be able to use the service for a US $1 contribution. The fee allows them to be transported to and from any of the health care institutions on the rotation.

The shuttle will rotate every 15 minutes between the mentioned health care institutions, making the service a reliable one for persons to get to one or more of these facilities during the day. Additional stops will be made at SMMC during the three daily “visiting hours” to accommodate persons who may be visiting their loved ones.

At the moment, public transportation does not service the area in the vicinity of SMMC, MHF and Cay Hill Lab, and persons can be seen daily walking the route to get to and from these facilities.

The service is provided by Tuckspro N.V. Representative of the business Peter J. Gittens announced the service at a press conference held jointly with Health Minister Cornelius de Weever on Friday.

Gittens said Tuckspro N.V. is a medical entity certified by Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS) and American Lifeguard Association. All drivers of the shuttle service are trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and would be able to handle any medical emergencies that arise on the bus until other medical professionals or ambulance personnel arrive. The vehicles are also stocked with a fully-equipped medical bag and a mobile defibrillator for emergencies.

Gittens said the service is currently in a pilot phase. Over the next three months, the number and type of persons using the service and for which health care institutions will be documented, so that the company can have accurate information in this area. The service will be re-evaluated after three months, taking into account the data collected.

This information will be used to start dialogue with health care providers to see how this can be incorporated into their service and possibly finance it as well. “We need to study exactly who needs the services, how often they use it and the type of persons who will be using it, so that we can streamline it,” Gittens told reporters. “We want to approach them [insurance service providers – Ed.] with solid numbers and facts.”

The service will start off with a five-person staff who will be working on a rotational basis.

De Weever said his ministry had been pursuing a similar service when he came across the management of Tuckspro, which had a similar initiative. The Minister said he indicated to Tuckspro that he was exploring the option. He advised them that, in addition to SMMC, they should also include service to other health care facilities, such as MHF, SLS and Baby Clinic – which he said would form “a perfect loop” around these health care institutions in the Cay Hill area.

The Minister said it was later determined that it would have been better for Tuckspro to provide these services. He asked the company to document the use of the services to better understand the need for it.

The Minister said he has personally seen persons walking back and forth to medical facilities in Cay Hill, and he has also personally given persons rides. He said the fact that this area is not being serviced is not good, hence his decision to find a solution.

The shuttle will start its operations each day by picking up persons at Teke Teke Grill and Bar at the entrance of Welgelegen Road. It will head to Le Grand Marché parking lot to pick up more persons, make its first stop at Baby Clinic, second stop at Mental Health Foundation, then to SMMC and the SLS Lab, then back to the starting point where the rotation will be repeated.

Tuckspro’s general services include providing non-emergency medical transport services, emergency transport services, medical standby services and lifeguard services. The partnership with the health ministry is just for the service to health care facilities in the Cay Hill area. The company’s emergency number is 9311. The company will explore the possibility of expanding its services to other areas in the future.

Bron: The Daily Herald

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