Princess Alice Hospital is located in the picturesque north eastern end of the island in the parish of St.Andrew’s and is the second largest hospital on the island. The hospital was commissioned by Princess Alice countess of Athlone on March 4th 1950. This establishment serves a population of 25,469 people in St Andrews and also that of its surrounding parishes namely St. Patrick’s, St. Johns and St. David’s to a lesser extent.
Originally, there was a pasture approximately five hundred yards to the right of the hospital which members of the community used for playing cricket and football. These activities were a source of entertainment for staff and patients alike. However during the late 90’s the pasture was converted to farm lands as part of what is now known as the Grenada farm school.
There was no public transport system to and from the hospital and as a result, some staff members and patients had to walk to the hospital relying only on rides from members of the community. During the early 2000 there were two (2) buses which transported persons to the hospital.
The institution was managed by one (1) Medical officer, One (1) Matron and one (1) Steward Pharmacist. Those three (3) persons were responsible for the operation/activities that provided patient care and the general running of the hospital.
During the 1950’s and early 60’s nurses had to work a spilt shift. This meant that while they commenced duty at 7:00 a.m., some nurses went off duty at 12 noon and resumed at 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. while others worked from 7:00 am – 4:00 p.m.. The night shift was from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. for two (2) weeks, which was usually tedious. Two (2) nurses covered the night shift; one (1) staff nurse, one (1) nursing assistant/ junior nurse.
The shift later changed to a six (6) hour shift in the day; 7:00 am – 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with night duty being twelve (12) hour shift, two (2) nights and two (2)off and is currently used even today (2012)
One of the first Matrons to work at Princess Alice Hospital was Matron Taylor. She was succeeded by matron Jennings. Among some of the Matrons who served at Princess Alice Hospital were Ms. Caesar, Ms Theresa Sayers from 1974 – 1980, Ms Avis Theodore, Mrs. Mary Cruickshank Saunders 1986 – 1995 and Mrs. Jeanette Joseph 1995 - 2012.
Among the doctors who served at Princess Alice Hospital, the following person served for long periods. Dr. Rupert Japal, Dr. Lloyd Alexis, Dr. Baird, Dr. Tandra, Dr. Lawrence Gibbs. It can be said that both Dr Alexis and Dr Gibbs provided great support for nurses in the clinical area. One cannot forget the many nights that Dr. Gibbs spent playing cards and other games with the nurses and also doing poetry and art as they spent these long hours on duty. Many psychiatric patients were nursed back to sanity by the supervision and guidance of Dr. Gibbs who gave selflessly to the care of critically ill patients. On many occasions he slept in patients’ room, just to ensure that special care could have been provided.