Chief Executive Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Dexter James, has denied that there has been any wastage of funds or irregular procurement practices at that health institution.
James argued that the claims by an Opposition MP were unfounded and only sought to undermine the credibility of public officers and the institution.
The chief executive officer issued these clarifications earlier today during a press briefing. He noted that statements were made that the QEH was paying 100 per cent more for gloves from an overseas supplier.
In providing clarification, James charged that the first misrepresentation to Parliament was that a box of 50 gloves on the local market costs $6.†”This is erroneous, as a box of gloves costs approximately US$6 or the equivalent of Bds$12,” he stated. “It is therefore surprising that attempts were made to confuse issues without regard for standardising the currency.”
James stressed that in terms of its procurement policy, the QEH had always supported the purchase of consumables and other items from local suppliers provided that the cost was competitive, supply reliable and stock-outs were minimised. He pointed out that the two local companies that supply gloves currently provide them at a higher cost than the overseas supplier.
In the case of colostomy bags, he added, there was one local supplier who was the sole agent for the overseas manufacturer of the Coloplast 5700 bags. He stressed that over the past two years, supply by the local agent had been inconsistent and often reflected as stock-outs at the QEH.
The CEO pointed out that the hospital board had instituted a zero-tolerance policy for stock-outs and the procurement department explored alternative supply chains for these bags, one of which was a direct purchase from the manufacturer Coloplast. He added the company had indicated that they could not supply the bags to the QEH directly as there was already an agent in Barbados.
James said the company further advised that if the QEH was dissatisfied with the service provided by the agent, it was free to explore another one of their listed agents. He noted that there was a supplier, JR Medical, with whom the QEH had an earlier purchasing relationship and they were engaged to supply the Coloplast 5700 bags.
James told members of the Press that the colostomy bags in boxes of 30, supplied by the overseas company cost $172.70, while the most recent price from the local supplier was at $180.
He also dismissed claims that the QEH had acquired gauze valued at $250,000 from a company based in the United Kingdom and that the hospital could not account for it. James stressed that the facts were that a purchase order for the gauze valued at $250,000 was issued to a UK company and the shipment was scheduled to arrive in Barbados in two weeks.
In addition, James pointed out that at that time a 90 cm by 0.5 cm gauze was being supplied by the UK supplier at 22 cents per piece, whereas the local supplier was providing this size gauze for 29 cents per piece. The 90 cm by one cm was being supplied by the UK company at a cost of 38 cents per piece, while the local company was supplying the gauze at 58 cents per piece, he added.
Meanwhile, chairman of the board, Francis DePeiza, lauded the efforts being made by the management of the hospital to cut costs and manage supplies. De Peiza said an apology should be issued to the CEO and the board of directors for the misinformation. (NC)