Medical teams on St Helena would struggle to cope with a major accident at the island’s new airport, a visiting doctor has warned.
Dr Ahmad Risk, who has been qualified for 40 years, has acted as a healthcare consultant as well as working as a civilian and military doctor, in the UK and internationally.
He praised staff at Jamestown’s hospital after working alongside them as a temporary locum doctor, saying they had to cope with inadequate facilities in challenging conditions.
He said massive improvements were needed in the next two years in order to bring healthcare on the island up to the standards tourists would expect.
And when asked about what would happen if there was a major accident at the airport, he resplied: “Heaven forbid.
“If we have a major incident, say a plane crash, without facilities it will be quite a struggle.
“I have to be frank and straight about it: with our current facilities on the island we cannot cope reasonably well.
“We will cope, to a certain extent, and people will put out all the stops and they will not sleep for days; they will do that because that’s what they trained to do. But the outcomes may not be as favorable as if you had a different set-up.”
St Helena Government said that plans were in hand for a major upgrade of the hospital and its facilities.
A detailed emergency plan was published as part of the original planning application for the airport. It can be found on the St Helena Air Access website.