St. Jude Hospital is a Statutory Body of the Government of Saint Lucia and is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister of Health. It is located in Augier, Vieux-Fort, in the southern tip of the island.
The hospital was formally opened as a Charity Hospital on the 5th of September 1966 by Mother Irma and the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, a Franciscan religious order based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. This was done on behalf of the Catholic Church. Patient care was given at no charge. The hospital was staffed primarily by volunteer doctors, technicians and others from the United States and other countries. It became a model of excellent healthcare. This tradition of volunteerism has continued over the years.
The sisters managed St. Jude Hospital until 1992, at which time the Saint Lucian Government awarded a management contract to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. In 2003 the St. Jude Hospital Act No. 7 was passed, providing for an independent Board of Directors to manage the hospital. The Ministry of Finance partially subsidizes the hospital with an annual grant which is used to pay the salaries of hospital employees. The Act gives the hospital the right to charge and obtain patient revenue in order to meet operating costs not covered by Governmental subsidies.
On September 9, 2009, St. Jude Hospital was devastated by a fire. The fire destroyed the surgical and pediatric wards and the operating theaters of a seriously aging facility. The hospital was evacuated to the George Odlum Sports Stadium where it is still currently located. Most services previously available at the old site, a facility in great need of renovation, have resumed. In many instances the level and quality of services available at the Stadium are improved from those available at the old hospital.
The Government of Saint Lucia has made a policy decision to completely renovate the old hospital. This is necessary in order to restore the capacity of the healthcare delivery system in the southern half of the island that serves a population of approximately 66,000 persons. There has been significant progress in the renovation effort which is expected to be completed before or during the first quarter of 2015.
St. Jude Hospital since its founding has been committed to partnering with individuals and international medical institutions. It strives to produce quality healthcare that is accessible, holistic and client focused. These partners have included volunteers, many of whom have continued to return on a regular basis, in some cases for twenty or more years. These include physicians, dentists, nurses and persons from a variety of backgrounds. These partnerships have been critical to the survival of St. Jude Hospital as an institution. They will continue to be part of the strategic vision of the hospital which is committed to bolstering its Volunteer Program. The Hewanorra Health Volunteers is a USA based Non-Profit Organization formed by St. Jude Hospital volunteers. It is dedicated to supporting the hospital and assisting in the recruitment of volunteers.