PM Drew: No Crisis at JNF, Planned Multi-agency simulation

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Prime minister, Dr. Terrance Drew, has assured the public that there was no crisis at the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) on Tuesday 23rd, April 2024.

During the 24th, April, 2024 edition of The Roundtable, the prime minister explained that what transpired was a planned simulation designed to evaluate the hospital’s preparedness for emergencies.

Rumours of a crisis at JNF triggered a social media following a power outage and sounds of explosions. Prime Minister Drew clarified, however, that the event was a controlled drill designed to expose vulnerabilities in the hospital’s response to emergencies.

“There was no crisis at JNF. What took place was a simulation that was managed by various agencies so that we can determine how ready we are to deal with any major disaster,” Dr. Drew said.

He also expressed deep disappointment that people were so eager to spread misinformation.

“One would think that responsible people would pick up the phone and call to find out what is going on instead of going on social media to build unnecessary anxiety in SKN,” he stated.

The prime minister noted the importance of such drills, highlighting the potential for complacency in the absence of recent disasters.

“Wherever there are issues…you correct them and then we might have to test again, because sometimes you think that all is in order because we have not been hit by a disaster of significant magnitude for some time, so you have to simulate it” he said.

Dr. Drew explained that the simulation which involved the police, army, power company and other agencies, included the loud sounds, smoke and power outages which could occur in a real emergency.

He also said that the decision not to inform the public was deliberate so that the response, including that of the public, would replicate an authentic scenario.

“What did not happen is that the people were not informed because you want it to be as realistic as possible”, he explained.

Meanwhile, Dr. Drew emphasised that throughout the exercise, the safety of patients at JNF was paramount.

“What we made sure of is that no one was in the ICU, no life was at risk. The only thing is that there was darkness for a short time”, Prime Minister Drew reassured.

An evaluation of Tuesday’s exercise is now taking place. In his meeting with the press, the Prime Minister assured the public that the findings will be thoroughly analysed and improvements will be implemented if they are found to be necessary.

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