Peter Wickham, talk show host, pollster and social commentator join many others daily to spare no opportunity to sing the praises of Minister of Health Donville Inniss. Perhaps it explains why he was invited to Inniss’ New Year bash? If in the minds of many Inniss is doing a good job then all credit to him he must be doing some thing right. Despite the praise being heaped on Inniss BU remains concerned at the state of the healthcare system in Barbados.
In the Christmas message of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners’ (BAMP), President Carlos Chase was highly critical of the management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). To quote a local daily newspaper: “BAMP has also slammed the lack of progress in talks between them on ongoing contentious matters. The continuing shortages at the institution came under fire from BAMP too.” Implied in the report is that the industrial relations climate at the QEH continues to simmer read Alexandra. The QEH is the primary health institution in Barbados which falls under Minister Donville Inniss.
Of wider concern to BU is the emergence of a budding private healthcare system in Barbados. We are not knocking entrepreneurship but BU reserves the right to question and to share our observations in the interest of promoting transparency and encouraging elucidation. A comment on an earlier blog questioned the lack of transparency by government regarding the Al Barrack transaction. It is ironic that more than five years ago the late David Thompson promised an electorate hungry for change that should they win office – and they did – they would introduce a level of transparency in government hitherto unseen. With another general election looming Barbadians have a chance to be judge and jury.
Barbados is a country which has expended – and continues to do so – billions of dollars on healthcare delivery. Barbadians enjoy ‘free’ healthcare delivered by the QEH, polyclinics and a heavily subsidized Drug Service. A growing middleclass also have the option to seek private healthcare but it should not be at the expense of taxpayers. Commonsense dictates that if the private healthcare sector is growing then there should be a recalibration to the overall sector with commensurate adjustment in public expenditure. There should be an enunciated public policy which is transparent in how decisions at the QEH are made and how scarce resources are allocated. In other words, what is the most efficient way the public health sector can work with the private to the benefit of Barbadians.
Observers sometimes muse that very often the CT Scan at the QEH is not working and QEH patients in need need of a scan are transported via ambulance – using QEH or private (Sparman) – to Peter Harris’ radiology facility at Sandy Crest (some 4.5 miles or 20+ minutes from the QEH) in spite of the fact that CT BDS is a shorter distance away from the QEH in Belleville. BU understands that the Radiologist Dr. Lawrence Pias who reads the CT Scan at Peter Harris’ facilities is not as experienced as Dr. Geoffrey Decaries or as well trained as Dr. Okela Ward. It should come as no surprise that Decaries and Ward own and operate CT Barbados. Should we, the taxpayers, question why Harris’ facilities are used over others?
Here is a breakout of key private healthcare providers some which have emerged in recent times:
Currently owned by 17 shareholders. A group headed by Dr. Alfred Sparman has recently placed a down payment on Bayview with the intention of buying such.
Peter Harris and family own 80% of shares, Dr. Jerome Walcott owns the other 20%
Harold Watson/ Michael Wharton/ Frank Bishop each own 33 + 1/3 %
Brian Charles 28%/ Malcolm Grant 18%/ George Drakes 13% – The remaining shares are owned by Anne-Marie Cruickshank/ David Byer/ AD Forde/ Chaynie Williams/ Euclid Morris/ Alex McDonald/ Jeff Massay
|Health Smart Pharmacy – Warrens||Peter Harris and Kwamie Connel|
|Health Smart Pharmacy – Sandy Crest and Coverly||Peter Harris and Brian Charles|
|Warrens Health Care||Peter Harris/ Euclid and Kathy Morris/ Kwanie Connell/ ?Alex McDonald|
|Coverly Medical Centre||Owners: Sandy Crest/ Peter Harris/ Brian Charles|
|Elcourt Clinic||Michael Hoyos|
|Imaging and Ultrasound||Blondell Durant|
|Barbados Reference Lab||Egbert Gibson|
|CT Barbados||Geoffrey DeCaires/ Okella Ward|
|MRI Barbados||Geoffrey DeCaires/ Sean Marquez|
|Bracebridge Medical Centre||Richard Ishmael/ Jeff Massay/ Dean Straker|
|Nuclear Medicine||Jerry Emtage|
|Sparman Clinic||Alfred Sparman/ ? Donville Inniss/ ? Bizzy Williams|
Again BU poses the hard questions to Minister Inniss.
A group headed by Dr. Alfred Sparman recently placed a down payment on Bayview with the intention of buying the facility as a going concern. While the other members of this group have remained a secret, it is alleged that they include you (Inniss), Bizzy Williams and Peter Harris. What about Sparman Clinic?
Minister can you confirm?