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?
It has come as no surprise to many tthe Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) continues to be affected by shortages of critical medical supplies. Despite assurances from Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) officials that care to the critically ill will not be compromised by the current state, BU remains stoutly sceptical and pray to the gods members of the BU household do not become afflicted by any serious malady in the near future. To listen to Minister John Boyce condescendingly advising Barbadians not to panic in the Lower House has done nothing to dissuade our view.
Who in their right mind believed that a 35 million dollar cut to the health budget 2013 would not have adversely affected healthcare delivery in Barbados? Explaining the cuts last year Minister John Boyce also gave an assurance , “ … that cost reduction measures at QEH were being taken in consultation with the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, the Medical Staff Committee, and the Barbados Registered Nurses Association” – see Boyce lists QEH cuts. BU is willing to be corrected but it seems the government through its agent Minister Boyce picked a number, in this case it was $35 million, with the unrealistic expectation to be able to find budget heads to cut to achieve the target. Bear in mind the CEO Dexter James was quoted in the media in 2012 confirming that the QEH required $200 million to finance the current hospital model and had received a budget of $154 million, a shortfall of 46 million.
BLP Press Briefing (Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott) – Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, General Secretary of the Barbados Labour Party – “I was a doctor before I came into politics and will be one after politics”
The DLP Government has so conspired to fool the people of Barbados that “smoke and mirrors” is their answer to every problem. This is reinforced by personal abuse and charges of citizens being political and unpatriotic hurled at anyone, who so much as raises any concern about Government’s policies. The fact that this despotic approach seems to have worked at every turn has emboldened DLP Ministers and has apparently led to it being adopted by certain public officials. This trend of public officials making political statements in response to legitimate questions and concerns is a step in the wrong direction.
The BLP is saying this must stop especially when it comes to matters of life and death.
Nothing can be more unpatriotic than a Government which by its chosen policies, and its deliberate actions, fails to properly prepare for the Health care of its citizens. The BLP is appalled and outraged by the responses of both the CEO of the QEH, Mr. Dexter James and the Acting Minister of Health Donville Inniss to a simple concern expressed regarding dialysis treatment at the hospital. It is shocking that the CEO of the island’s lone tertiary care health facility, in his attempt to tell Barbadians what is or is not a “political issue”, could shoo off a situation in which dialysis patients could possibly have faced infection as merely “commonplace”.
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.
Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business
“The Freundel Stuart administration says it is sticking to its guns to make Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies start pulling their pockets for tuition fees from next year even though welcoming a new private sector fund to bail out those who cannot afford to pay…The firm position was taken today by Minister of Commerce, and International Business, Donville Inniss, while launching a new charity known as Global Education Scholastic Trust…Inniss said the Government had done the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate, and would carry through with it…It is not easy for me as a politician that would have taken in recent debates to reduce fees at UWI with effect from 2014, but it is one of those things we felt we had to do, and we stand by that decision.”
What else can one expect from an uncaring Government, whose scions – and probably their scions’ scions – have had a free education at the UWI Cave Hill Campus? The motto of this Government is now “after me the deluge”! Is this the same Government that Minister Blackett called people-centred? I guess he means centred around the 16 DLP Government MPs, but night runs till day catches it!
Minister Inniss can spare us his crocodile tears!
You do not have money for our students at UWI Cave Hill, nor for the QEH, but you have millions of dollars in waivers – including one for food and beverage which no hotel has had before – to throw at a multi-millionaire named “Butch” Stewart, although he took over a hotel here and promised to develop and refurbish it so that Barbadians could get work, but absconded leaving it to moulder and the iron in it to rust! This left those who had hopes of getting a job there up the creek without a paddle! “Is that “the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate”, Minister Inniss?
“I would like to say to them, if they are incapable of running this country in such a way as to preserve these fundamental social rights of the Barbadian people – that is the right to free education, the right to free health care – then they should really relinquish the reins of Government and let somebody else try,” – David Commissiong
I Kammie Holder endorse the aforementioned comments despite the pervasive vindictiveness so evident in Barbados for speaking honestly and having an opposing view. The recent pronouncement by Honourable John Boyce that user fees may have to be introduced at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital QEH seems reactionary.
Below are 8 points why I am against any wholesale fees at QEH without broad consultation as required under servant leadership.
Chief Medical Officer Joy St. John (l) Donville Inniss former minister of health – Source: Barbados Advocate
Three months later a routine query from Peter Heimlich (the son of the man who created the Heimlich manoeuvre) remains outstanding. BU first highlighted this matter in a December, 07, 2012 blog – Asthma Study Conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Questioned. Minister Donville Inniss is currently preparing to contest in a general election on Thursday, Peter Heimlich will likely have to wait a little longer for a response to his query about a medical study using the “Heimlich manoeuvre for asthma” conducted on 67 children.
Here is the letter sent by Peter Heimlich in response to an email request from the minister on Jan 5, 2013. BU wonders why a minister has to be so intimately involved in this matter. This is a routine request which one of the health administrators should have executed on weeks ago.
See a full report on this matter on Heimlich’s blog – The Sidebar.
Dr. James (l), Minister of Health Donville Inniss (r) – Image/Barbados Advocate
In discussing the spiralling cost of health care at the QEH, the Nation’s editorial of Dec 13th mentions, inter alia, the ” new development of a lot more older patients needing greater intensive care.” While cloaking itself in a mantle of love for our fellow man, the tragic irony is that among the elderly the struggle against disease has begun to look like the trench warfare of WW1: little real progress in taking enemy territory but enormous economic and human cost in trying to do so.
Our main achievements today consist of devising ways to marginally extend the lives of the very sick. In the war against disease, we have unwittingly created a kind of medicine that is barely affordable now and forbiddingly unaffordable in the long run. Ours is now a medicine that may doom most of us to an old age that will end badly: with our declining bodies falling apart as they always have but devilishly—and expensively–stretching out the suffering and decay.
This may be called many things, but “loving” does not apply.
A media source – The News Record – which serves the University of Cincinnati (UC) has questioned whether a “potentially controversial study” conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, received approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at UC. “The study tested whether or not a modified version of the Heimlich Manoeuvre could stop an acute asthma attack or treat asthma symptoms without contemporary treatment. The subjects’ parents gave consent and the results reported no adverse effects, according to the study. The 67 children who participated were between the ages of six and 16.”
The person asking all the questions is Peter Heimlich, the some of Henry Heimlich who is associated with the Heimlich Manoeuvre. He admits he has not uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing but he wants “to find out if the researchers and funders followed legal and ethical guidelines.” He [Peter Heimlich] is concerned that although Dr. Anne St. John confirmed that IRB approval was received, the name of the IRB which provided the approval remains a mystery. Peter Heimlich is reported to have sent a communication to Minister Donville Inniss asking for the name of the IRB and when the Ethnics Committee approved the study.
Now isn’t it ironic that the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Virginia Irene Sandiford-Garner happens to be the DLP candidate for St. Andrew, yet her administration takes a decision to site the new general hospital in Christ Church? Totally disadvantaging the folks in the northern parishes encompassing St. Andrew, St. Peter, St. Lucy (DLP stronghold held by Minister Denis Kellman), St. Joseph, St. Thomas and St. James.
Does the DLP really plan on making any inroads into the constituencies in these parishes? Certainly that decision to site the new general hospital will impact on Senator Sandiford-Garner’s chances as DLP candidate for St. Andrew in the next general election. Wait a second…was not her specific function as dictated by the late PM David Thompson the redevelopment of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital? By deciding to move ahead with a new general hospital, does it signify that the goodly Senator has failed in her role to redevelop the QEH?
Yesterday we heard the Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, indicate that the site chosen for the new $800MM hospital is in Kingsland. Firstly, I state that I am pleased that Donville Inniss has taken an open approach to the blogs, by choosing to comment. I also think that Donville has a good political future. However, there are issues related to the new hospital and its location, that I wish to highlight, as relevant to all projects.
Firstly, on the point of location, we are told that relevant stakeholders have discussed this, or at least the news report refers to the Town Planning etc. My question is, how can relevant stakeholders be seen to be consulted, when the citizens of the country have not had an input? This is not a canteen at a school, where the head and Board or Ministry can decide. This is an $800 million facility, the only major one, for the country. I am not saying that a referendum is necessary, but certainly town hall meetings and a public panel (we so love commissions and panels) is actually relevant here. Can we see a preliminary report, that demonstrates why the site is suitable as agreed by Government, Town Planning, doctors, the QEH administration?
The government has recently announced a plan to spend Bds$800m on building a new hospital. But, like most things it has done since unexpectedly coming to power, it is in danger of putting the horse before the cart.
In principle, as many of you would have known, I am all in favour of a stimulus to keep the economy moving, in fact I am on record as calling for the central bank to print Bds$1bn to feed in to the economy. I believe that this would allow the disgraceful case of Al Barrack to be settled by allowing the businessman a central bank drawdown – of about $250000 a month – better that than nothing.
The only real danger from this liquidity is inflationary, and this can be managed. In any case, it is an issue that should be publicly debated by the central bank, the minister of finance and interested parties. Typically, all we get is silence.
Barbadian expectations were raised when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) switched from being a department of government in 2002 to being run by a statutory board. We were convinced by the then government that the autonomy of a board was just what the doctor ordered for the QEH.
Successive governments have had to battle many challenges when asked to manage our premiere health institution. To read the full-page ad which was placed by BAMP in the weekend newspapers detailing yet another conflict with the Board of the QEH would not have registered on the cognitive index of the vast majority of Barbadians. We have come to expect it. One is left to wonder why the industrial relations climate at the QEH always seem to ring of a discordant note.
Based on what BU has observed over the years the problems at the QEH are many and solutions difficult. The question which has to be asked is whether healthcare delivery is now being compromised as a result of unresolved issues between doctors and Board which have been outstanding for too long. BU’s sense is that there is a hardening of positions at the QEH. According to our sources the junior doctors especially are being asked to work extremely long hours which means there is no work life balance and a 12 hour day is not uncommon. A spirit of cooperation which was part of a now distant culture has reversed to the detriment of the patient. As if this isn’t enough some in the know believe the quality of Interns entering the QEH in recent times is inferior compared to that of old.
Barbados has always prided itself on its standard of healthcare delivery, the unsettled industrial climate at the QEH over time is beginning to undermine it all.