The Daily Herald writes that A. M. Edwards Medical Center, Saba’s sole medical center, has embarked on an extensive expansion and upgrade of its physical infrastructure with the goal of improving the level of service as well as the quality of healthcare on the island. The expansion, which the directorate has labelled a Rejuvenation Project, was essential because the facility has been in its current state since it was completed in March of 1980, with only a few minor adjustments over the years. In order to meet the needs and the requirements of a growing island population it was evident that expansion would be the only way forward to ensure continued development.
The Rejuvenation Project started in earnest with construction of a new ambulance bay, which began in November 2012. The ambulance bay was necessary to protect the emergency vehicles during inclement weather, so that they could be mobilised immediately after a storm. The building is multifunctional and can be used as a classroom for practical training for hospital personnel, and as a makeshift funeral facility to accommodate bereaved family members. Another part of this project includes creating storage space for the auxiliary generator, oxygen bottles and waste generated by the hospital.
The next phase of the project, which began in May, is the transformation of the building that formerly housed the Queen Wilhelmina Library. Since the library was relocated the building was used as classroom and storage facilities. When the renovation is finished, the building will house the administration offices of the medical centre; this includes the Office of the Director, Financial Administration Office and conference/classroom facilities, with other up-to-date features. The renovated facility will also house the practice of the physical therapist, which is now next to the lab; moving the therapist will allow space to expand the lab and provide more lab tests on island, which will enable more rapid turnaround times. After the administration building is finished, it will not be put into use as office space immediately, because it will serve as a temporary clinic, while work is being done on the hospital.
The next phase will be the improvement of main building of the medical centre. The plans for the changes in this building are currently in the concept phase and will be made public as soon as they are finalised. These changes will mean temporary relocation of some offices and services, which will be announced to the public in a timely manner. Hospital administration said that while they are aware that persons may be inconvenienced during the renovations at the facility, it is essential to increasing the quality of medical care offered to the people of Saba.