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.
Is this the same John Boyce who was transferred from the Ministry of Public Works and who literally added to the woes of the Transport Board by requesting the biggest subsidy in its existence? What confidence therefore can he command as head of the Ministry of Health, one of the biggest ministries?
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is not blameless, before being booted from office in 2008 Barbadians were promised a change from a QEH managed as a government department to an autonomous Statutory Board. And that it would have resulted in better days for the QEH.
You be the judge!
The health of a nation is the wealth of a nation.