The Falkland Islands Government Health Service is responsible for the provision of primary, community and secondary healthcare in the Islands, as well as social services and a range of benefits for those most in need. The general standard of health within the Falkland Islands is good.
All medical, dental and community health services are based at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Islands’ only hospital. The hospital’s 29 bed complement comprises 18 acute beds, a maternity bed, an isolation unit, a two bed intensive care unit and seven long-stay nursing home beds. There are modern facilities for outpatients and community health care, a day centre, two dental surgeries, and a single theatre with anaesthetic room. There is a well-equipped pharmacy, which dispenses all prescriptions and provides an ‘over the counter’ medicine sales and health advice service.
The social services team provides support for a wide range of people with social care needs including children, older people, and people with disabilities or long-term mental health problems. As well as a sheltered and mobile warden service, they also provide the Islands’ probation service.
KEMH has a full range of medical, dental, nursing (including midwives and community nurses), allied health professional and engineering staff, qualified to UK standards or recognised equivalents. Wherever possible, the hospital adheres to UK standards/guidelines for medical practice.
Care to the remote farm settlements is provided by the GPs via telephone consultations and regular visits. In an emergency situation, the doctor can be taken to the settlement, or the patient evacuated to Stanley, using the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS).
Specialist services are provided by a range of visiting consultants; these include Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Orthopaedics, ENT and Oral & Maxillo-facial surgery. Patients who cannot wait for their visits, or who need access to other diagnostic or treatment services, are referred either to UK hospitals under a reciprocal agreement with the UK NHS, or, increasingly, to Santiago. Patients who need emergency treatment that the hospital cannot provide may be flown by air ambulance to Chile or Uruguay.