Last week it was reported the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) suffered a cybersecurity incident. Another way to explain it – information was stolen from QEH’s database by unknown parties. So far the official and sanitized explanation is – “the QEH was taking all necessary precautions to protect the integrity of our systems ans patient privacy“. On December 14. 2022 the QEH issued a report indicating changes to its operations because of the cybersecurity incident – Temporary Changes At QEH Due To Internet Outage.
It is outrageous the government and the management at QEH are more concerned with hiding their embarrassment than with making sure that the hospital is safe.
From a government that promised transparency, it seems that they are stuck in the same old culture of secrecy which is the ideal environment for corruption, leads to the deterioration in services and demoralises and disillusions the workers and the citizens.
The failure of the management at QEH to ensure the safety of Bajans using the hospital is legitimate information for every Bajan to know and any rules or regulations which penalise putting such information into the public domain should be scrapped.
Instead of spending time and resources taking disciplinary action against the doctor, the management at the hospital should be using this time, energy and resources to address the problems that have been highlighted.
– Tee White
Since Dr. Maurice Walrond (General Surgeon) went public to voice concerns about how surgeries are being performed at the QEH in a COVID 19 environment, the management of the hospital has been forced to initiate an action that will require Dr. Walrond to defend himself against a charge of a breach of contract.
Page 1 of QEH Letter sent to Walrond Source: Barbados Today
It is regrettable the issue had to be raised in the glare of the public. Of greater concern to the blogmaster is that Walrond and the eleven doctors supporting his position were unable to sit around a table to resolve the issue. Very unfortunate indeed.
It should not come as a surprise QEH management issued a ‘letter’ to Walrond, this is a standard HR practice to respond to any employee or ‘contractee’ thought to have violated terms and conditions of employment. Walrond being the intelligent person that he must be would have calculated the risk reward as they say of taking a public position. The risk to his contract at the QEH being revoked versus the merit of his argument (and eleven colleagues) that the public health of Barbados is being compromised by the existing QEH protocol to deal with surgeries.
The QEH has a responsibility to follow ‘grievance procedure’ and in all fairness could not be expected to ignore Dr. Walrond’s decision to go public last week with David Ellis on the afternoon show Getting Down to Brasstacks. Can you imagine if Tom, Dick and Harry contracted by the QEH to deliver sensitive services felt unfettered access to the media to air concerns was the best option to resolve problems? Such an approach would compromise the running of the QEH or any organization for that matter.
One suspects Dr. Walrond would have weighed the possible outcomes his bold action would have triggered. He comes from a family setup where he should have benefited from being around his mother (May She Rest in Peace) AND a father who is a retired surgeon. One suspects there is more to come in this matter. What action will the eleven other doctors take who have reportedly affixed their signature to the letter sent to management supporting Walrond’s concerns? Walrond is only the face of the dispute. Surely they will not throw Walrond under the bus without trying to save him. It is reported Walrond initiated communication with BAMP.
The blogmaster understand the arguments from BOTH sides. The QEH is hamstrung by lack of resources to implement the ideal site to do surgeries in a COVID 19 environment. In such a situation Walrond et al will find good reasons to be critical. In this situation reasonable men charged with protecting the health of Barbadians are encouraged to pursue a path to achieve a balanced (win win) position. Airing this matter in public makes for good ratings for the media but says nothing about our ability as an educated people to satisfactorily resolve conflict.
What a time for the public health sector to become unstable.
Our children are watching and modelling our behaviours.
The A&E at QEH is beyond ridiculous and I hope that my words, at the very least, embarrass somebody. I arrived here at 12pm.with my chronically ill mother she was severely dehydrated and crying from pain in her chest. We were ushered straight in and she was placed in a hard chair to wait. After an hour I made a fuss and some nurses saw her. They did the ECG and took some blood work. Later a chest xray was done. They brought her back.and left her to.sit in a chair for 5 hours. The Edema in her legs is so bad now that you cannot tell the difference between her ankles or her calves. She is weeping in pain and her lips are now swollen and cracking due to.her dehydration. I have been begging for help to no avail. And it’s not just me. The guy next to us literally passed out and fell out of his chair and not a single.doctor or nurse assisted….. not one. The doctors have spent more time in their little room joking and laughing then looking at patients. Just had a doctor come over and when I begged her for something she snapped at me and walked on refusing to even look at her.
This is my tax dollar at work. This is my NIS At work. Yes I know money is tight but this is beyond a small budget. This is gross mismanagement. This is corruption, this is lack of regard for human life, this is a violation of basic human needs. This is disgusting.
My disclaimer is that I will take to my grave the belief that a nurse named Christine was responsible for my mother’s death at the QEH. It was the same Christine who had befriended her when she was hospitalized a few years prior and when she was released would call her which we thought was a nice caring gesture until she started to ask my mother to loan her money to pay her bills. We wondered how many of the other vulnerable old people she was doing this to. Some persons thought that we should have sued the hospital when my mother died but we did not. It would have simply gone into those pile of cases that never become resolved. Perhaps every family has a story to share. Sadly, the QEH is the only place where the poor must go when they become ill and without money they have accepted that any visit can result in their untimely demise.
To this day I do not even know if there is a complaint system in place because 2 years ago, I personally took to a letter of complaint against another nurse and to this day I have not even received a letter acknowledging receipt. I now wonder if this is the standard operating procedure of all government departments.
From where I sit in the Diaspora, the main concerns of the persons that I have spoken with regarding returning to Barbados are always the same. It is the fear of losing their hard-earned money to some lawyer who does not honor their fiduciary role in an investment whether for house or land. It is the fear of being a victim of gun violence as has recently occurred. It is also the fear of becoming ill in Barbados and not being able to access proper patient care. It speaks volumes when Barbadians in the Diaspora do not want to return home.
I have no concerns regarding nepotism, qualifications, experience, salary or political affiliation regarding the holder of the position of Executive Chairman of the QEH. My concern is with the great expectations that I have for the holder of that position. For me the holder of that position MUST be the one to finally correct the decades old problems that have been allowed to encapsulate the QEH. They are so many problems that one does not know where to start. There is the unacceptable level of patient care, the length of time that it takes to be seen by a doctor, lack of supplies, lack of equipment, maintenance of the equipment, maintenance of the plant, shortage of nurses and doctors, nurses who prey on the sick and vulnerable and nursed who become angels of death.
Ultimately there seems to be no standards in place when is comes to delivery of services to the public by the QEH. This level of health care delivery has also spilled into the private sector. Several persons that I have known took ill, went to the private doctor, were prescribed medication, took it and died.
Without knowing the job description of the position, or the day to day activities; it is a case of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). We have not been told what this new position of Executive Chairman will bring or what separates it and places above the position of Chairman. The physical plant of the hospital has not extended, no new ancillary facilities or other hospitals or care facilities have been added to its responsibility. If it is the intent of Government to build a new hospital being the Executive Chairman of both hospitals would give us a better understanding of the role and its responsibilities. However, I look forward to Mrs. Bynoe Sutherland sharing her intent for the position, her goals both short term and long term. Despite the lack of information, I have great expectations because I view the role of an Executive Director as an opportunity to make wrong things right and to overcome the past limitations of the QEH. I am hoping that the new Executive Director is up to the task, as the old saying goes to whom much is given, much is expected. Failure must not be considered an option.
Ultimately, I only have one measurement of her success, though it will take some time. It is quite simple and will resonate with everyone. I simply want the day to come when the rich, the wealthy, the well to do, the upper class and the political class in Barbados all go to the QEH to seek medical attention instead of jet-setting to Miami and New York. I do not want the poor to be the only ones receiving patient care at the QEH but everyone else in Barbados; the delivery of patient care and its related problems must be resolved and changed from unacceptable to world class. If Mrs. Bynoe-Sutherland can achieve this as a testament to her success; no one will be concerned about nepotism, qualifications, experience, salary or political affiliation; as confidence in patient care will give all a new lease on life, but time will tell.
The recent announcement that Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland was appointed Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Board triggered the interest of the blogmaster. Many in the know immediately wondered about the correctness of the decision appointing Minister Dwight Sutherland’s wife to the onerous task of leading the Board. Time will tell if she is able to improve QEH operations.
What the blogmaster found interesting was the accompanying statement from Minister of Health and Wellness Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic explained in the following BT newspaper extract.
At the end of August, Government announced that a mutual agreement had been reached for the separation of former CEO Dr Dexter James from his role at the 600-bed institution. Dr James had been on extended sick leave since February. Director of Support Services Louise Bobb has been acting in that senior position since that announcement.
Readers will recall that days before the last general election former CEO Dexter James’ $257, 129.64 contract was renewed for 4 years although the contract had 18 months to run. Former Minister Boyce ensured his golf buddy a sweet deal.
Minister Bostic is a minister in a government that promotes transparency, however, he neglected to apprise the public of the several thousand dollars taxpayers paid to James to permit a non litigious exit. The majority of Barbadians are numb to what has transpired in this one example and it makes the blogmaster very angry. How is this happening and at the same time Barbadians are being asked to hold tight?
Successive governments have mismanaged the QEH. Despite the band-aiding by DLP and BLP talking heads, what cannot be refuted is the perennial unavailability of supplies at the QEH resulting in the inability to deliver efficient health care. Individuals who can afford it will access private health care. The upside is that some doctors in private practice are laughing all the way to the bank.
The partisans in this forum will blame the Bees or Dees. What these partisans are blind to is both political parties continue to engage in practices that protect the political class. Unfortunately the bidding of political parties has forced the QEH and other institutions in the country to the ‘knees’. How can a people boast of being highly literate yet succumb to partisan beliefs on every issue? What is the criteria for selecting Board members and senior management? On what basis are contracts for services to the hospital issued? Is it based on a transparent tender or RFP policy?
Barbadians were promised better with the transition to Board management at the QEH. Instead there appears to have been a deterioration. The physical plant is embarrassing to look at, constant shortage of supplies compromising health delivery, low employee moral, corrupt selection process of suppliers, inefficient decision making by administration.
Sensible Barbadians must ask the question- if we cannot efficiently manage our primary health care facility what does it say about our skill set as an educated people?
Were recommendations contained in the Richie Haynes report implemented?
The blogmaster received the following written on the back of an envelope from a medical student and felt to share with the BU community.
Given the heavy focus by the Barbados government to attract medical schools to Barbados, supported by plans to integrate with health delivery strategies – citizens need to be curious to probe decision making (Discuss for 5 marks).
Dr. Justin Robinson, Chairman of the committee to rationalize SOEs reported that his report was submitted and awaits action by the minister of finance.
Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance
The CEO of the QEH has been making utterances about a health care scheme. We all know that elections are due shortly and both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance will be wary of introducing new taxes. So they have passed the baton to the CEO of the QEH. I just want to let them know that the NIS scheme was established inter alia to provide benefits for persons on extended sick leave, maturity leave, persons injured on the job and is unable to work and pensions for persons who contributed to the fund.
I would also like to let the CEO to know that the senior citizens of this country contributed to the NIS scheme and therefore are entitled to the benefits they are receiving. In addition we also paid taxes when we were working and still are paying taxes on our pension. The taxes we pay are supposed to provide us with social services such, as health care, transportation and so on.
The NIS scheme was not established as a bank account for any government. The taxpayers expect that the money they pay into the public coffers would be used to provide them with the necessary social services and not as a sloshed fund for politicians! I say a big fat no to any additional taxes irrespective of what scheme or “eme” it is for.
If the government wants money let it go and collect the VAT from the registrants. The NSRL could never raise as much money as VAT. The Minister of Finance boasted of the large amount of money he collected from the NSRL in a short period. So wanna can imagine how much VAT is being collected by the registrants!
The news two women died last month soon after giving birth at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) should be of concern to all Barbadians. While these two maternal deaths were widely reported in the mainstream media there have been many others that have been kept hush hush in recent years. In the interest of transparency we are asking the QEH authorities to explain why two women are dead who should be home nursing their babies. Continue reading →
Recently we were advised of the outbreak of bug infections at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). The BU family was enlightened by a presentation Understanding Why Bacteria Are Present at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) shared by resident medical expert Dr. GP. Contrary to popular view fighting bacteria is a struggle for all hospitals although some are able to to do a better job than others.
This is a matter that continues to concern BU because those most vulnerable to bacteria who are admitted at the QEH are our young; the future of the country, and senior citizens; the wise and knowledgeable of the land. The sad thought that the QEH continues to be mired in partisan political nothingness is a big disappointment. Slashing health budgets without careful consideration to the ramification of minimizing risks posed by antibiotic-resistant infections needs to be more widely communicated to the public.
The news broke last week that several bacteria present at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) have caused many surgeries to be rescheduled. The first reaction by many Barbadians is to blame the management of the QEH for not ensuring the health care facility is adequately sanitized. A deeper and more informed analysis of the problem indicate all hospitals have to defend the environs from marauding bacteria because of an increasing resistance to antibiotics.
View the following presentation with the compliments of BU family member Dr. GP.
Doctors are warning that shortages of basic and essential supplies will continue at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) with Government cutting the allocation to the already underfunded facility by another $10 million this year. “The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) is calling for ‘necessary, decisive and corrective action to be taken now – Barbados Today
My, my, my, this “people-centred Government” is at it again!
However, it should come as no surprise to anyone who lives and works in this country – especially those in the middle and lower classes of our society – that that would happen. This “people-centred Government” has money to purchase high-end vehicles for the boys, and to pay two CEOs of two entities which were made out of one – although we only need one for such a small country, with the said CEOs now saying that they are advertising for more people so that they can get a piece of the action – but it has to cut the funding the QEH – the lone hospital on the island. This was once one of the leading facilities, if not the leading one, in the Caribbean.
“Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington does not see the current status of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a matter for urgent parliamentary debate. Carrington made this ruling today when the House met and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley sought to have her motion on the QEH discussed. After a brief exchange with the Speaker in which she maintained that the issue was of urgent public importance Mottley led her team in a walk out at 11.35 a.m. I wonder why the Speaker of the House of Assembly “does not see the current status of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a matter for urgent parliamentary debate?”
I think that it is of paramount importance that this is done because we cannot continue to have the Minister of Finance continuing a flick-as-you-go policy pertaining to the QEH instead of giving that institution the funds it needs on a yearly basis.
Why must everything in this country be divided along party lines? When will someone in this Government start thinking about what the people who they vowed to serve really need?
…Minister Boyce also sought to make it clear that even in the worst of times, the hospital’s suppliers had never withdrawn their services….
‘’Warning that the unavailability of essential medical supplies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has reached a crisis of the highest order, doctors at the state-run health care facility have decided to handle emergency cases only. And they have called on Government to not only state unequivocally how it plans to fund the QEH in the short, medium and long term, but also to ‘explain the measures they will take to restore the broken supply chain …” – Barbados TODAY 28 November, 2014
So what’s new?
It seems to me that the QEH only gets a bit of money if the doctors come to the public and complain about the dire straits in which our primary health care institution is. This is the second time in less than six months this has happened.
Has the administration of that institution not learnt anything?
Are we at a stage where the Minister of Finance will have to find money for the QEH every six months, instead of funding it properly?
I have been waiting to see if any of the BU posters will at least post something on this very serious problem we have with our health care system. But as usual no one has come forward as yet.
Recently I was at Sandy Crest where there were two patients who needed to get to the QEH asap. The staff were calling around for ambulances and not one could be found. Finally one was located and it took the first patient to the hospital. The next patient was going into cardiac arrest and every attempt to find another ambulance was in vain. I asked if the first ambulance could come back and take the patient to the QEH and was told that it was no longer available. You could hear the frantic calls by the doctors to the QEH about the patient was in a terrible state. He needed to get to ICU ASAP but no one could find an ambulance. I read in the papers recently about the death of a patient who couldn’t get an ambulance to take her to the hospital while her family watched her painful death.
I heard on a call in program about another incident where someone’s family was in ICU and the drip had run dry. The family member asked if another drip was needed. The reply was that they have the drip but not the medication to put into the drip. This was another ICU case. The family member frantically called around and found the medication at Sandy Crest, bought it and took it back to the QEH. This caller said she had tears in her eyes.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is in the news again. Professor Emeritus Henry Fraser made the announcement this Christmas week that the crisis at the QEH requires Minister of Health (MoH) John Boyce to meet with Minister Chris Sinckler as a matter of urgency. Of course this is the same MoH who boldly stated during the last budget debate that the deep cuts to the Ministry of Health budget would not compromise healthcare delivery.
Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner in response to the criticism offered the view that the QEH remains the best primary healthcare facility in the Caribbean. BU has no way to assess the veracity of Sandiford’s statement however one has to ask if Barbados should not hold the QEH to our high standard. Why should Barbadians retreat to accept benchmarking against healthcare systems in the region which have always looked to Barbados as the standard bearer?
It is instructive to remember that Fraser is an Independent Senator and Senator Sandiford-Garner is government appointed. The question to the BU family et al – who should we believe? Some issues CANNOT be about politics, the good health of a nation is a wealthy of a nation after all.