Tag Archives: QEH

Senator Henry Fraser: Healthcare Slide at the QEH

Professor Emeritus Henry Fraser

Professor Emeritus Henry Fraser

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 Says UWI Tuition Fees Must Stay

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Donville Inniss - Minister of Commerce, and International Business

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?

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No to QEH Fees!

Kammie Holder, Insurance Underwriter

Kammie Holder, Insurance Underwriter

“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.

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A Vision for Healthcare

In Barbados many think of the healthcare sector has those services delivered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to a lesser degree, the polyclinics. This is wrong. The video provided (16 min) is worth watching to dispel such thinking. As an educated nation in 2013 we need to keep pace with how progressive countries are managing healthcare to deliver a QUALITY result.

Human Cost of Getting Older

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Dr. James (l), Minister of Health Donville Inniss (r) - Image/Barbados Advocate

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.

Notes From a Native Son: Physician Heal Thyself

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Recently, the British intellectual and journalist, Will Hutton, asked the question: “How do you successfully break a mistaken and destructive intellectual consensus?” It set me off immediately thinking of the cosy social world and the mental processes in which the political, professional and academic elites in Barbados conspire to converge on the same ideas, which are implemented in much the same way, often by the same people – and, no matter which party is in control, they all expect different results.

Two ideas come to mind: the break of the consensus by the attorney general on the silly and ill-advised decision to plant taxpayers’ money in to the Four Seasons project, which he rightly sees as a private investment which should be let to private investors. The other is equally as irresponsible, the decision to build a spanking new Bds$800m hospital in Kingsland. Both ideas are loopy and reveal the poverty of our policy-making, especially when it comes to major capital projects.

First, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, opened to the public in 1963, which competent and firm management cannot sort out. What patients are complaining about are issues such as time-wasting, spending hours before being seen by a doctor in Accidents and Emergencies, of under-productive nurses spending time on the wards talking to each other while surgical patients are in pain and crying out for help, over-paid and arrogant, sometimes even questionably competent, doctors being on the public payroll while spending their time looking after their private patients. The list goes on. So, to the ordinary man and woman in the street, the real problem at the QEH is not the building, although that us falling apart, but what goes on inside the building.

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Proposed Location Of New Hospital Announced … No So Fast Mr. Minister!

Submitted by Crusoe

Donville Inniss – Minister of Health

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?

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Barbados Money Class Attracted To Private Healthcare Delivery

Peter Harris

The directors of Warren Healthcare Complex were ‘commended’ by Minister of Health Donville Inniss at its launch earlier this year. In his address he was quoted: “…the state cannot provide all services to all residents and hence it is my considered opinion that we must encourage the private sector to provide services which may or may not be provided in the public sector…”. The report details the players who formed the partnership to make the Warren Healthcare Complex a reality. Although it is not mentioned in the report quoted, BU understands that Peter Harris, one of the principals of CGI – is Chairman of the recently opened Warrens medical facility. The truth be told BU welcomes entrepreneurship wherever it rears it head but we have to be vigilant!

BU has been keeping an eye on how ownership of the private healthcare sector in Barbados has been taking form. Not many Barbadians are aware that then Minister of Health Jerome Walcott bought a 20% stake in Diagnostic Radiology, a company owned by the emerging deep pocket Peter Harris. Of course Walcott has a ‘front man’ who sits on the Board of Directors to represent his interest! Peter Harris we understand owns Diagnostic Radiology Inc; Teleradiology Inc; Emergency Room Inc; MRI Services Inc all key players in the healthcare sector.

To date BU has not been able to uncover any evidence which gives Minister Inniss beneficial ownership in any of the private healthcare facilities in Barbados. This includes The Sparman Clinic. What we have become a little uncomfortable about is the  high number of government radiology requests which originate from the QEH and polyclinics which find their way into the private healthcare system.  BU readers should recall Dr. Richard Ismael’s concern about Dr. Alfred Sparman allegedly being  allowed to poach patients from the QEH. As citizens we have to begin to connect the dots. We are suppose to be an educated people.

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Notes From a Native Son – Physician Heal Thyself

Hal Austin

Introduction:
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.

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Doctors On The Take

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.

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